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Systematic Reviews: Searching for studies

A guide to assist staff and students undertaking systematic reviews

Where to search?

In conducting a systematic review, it is important that you search widely through published and unpublished research, to find all information available on a particular topic.This usually includes searching sources such as:   

Additional sources may be found by handsearching. Handsearching involves examining manually key journals, special issues, conference proceedings and other relevant publications. Handsearching is to overcome deficiencies in indexing or database coverage.The citation databases, Web of Science and SCOPUS are useful for identifying key journals, as well as tracking research and citation searching.

For further information on searching for studies in medical and health sciences, see:
"Chapter 4: Searching for and selecting studies" in the Cochrane handbook.