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Systematic Reviews: How to search

Overview of systematic review methodology and key strategies for searching and reporting to the Cochrane Collaboration's Gold Standard

Heading: How to search

How to search

The next step is to decide where and how you will search for evidence to answer your systematic review question.

Move through the slide deck below to learn how to search. Alternatively, download the PDF document at the bottom of this box.

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Learn how to search

Select the links below to learn how to conduct your search, using our real-time search tutorials:

Navigate to Search Medline Interactive Tutorial
This tutorial will demonstrate how to correctly translate your PICO breakdown into a MEDLINE search.

Navigate to Re-map to Embase/Emcare Interactive Tutorial
This tutorial demonstrates how to correctly remap your MEDLINE search to another Ovid database.

Navigate to Map to Cochrane Interactive Tutorial
This tutorial shows you how to remap your MEDLINE search to the Cochrane Library and databases therein.

Guidelines and standards

‘If the search strategy was peer reviewed, report the peer review process used and specify any tool used, such as the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies (PRESS) checklist.’ - PRISMA 2020 Explanation and Elaboration, p. 7

Other standards

Check your search

Easily edit searches with Ovid Search Launcher

Ovid Search Launcher allows you to enter your search in plain text, and run it in any UniSA-subscribed database on Ovid.

The Launcher provides a quick and easy way to edit your searches - move the position of search lines, add and remove terms, etc. 

Avoid inconvenient timeouts while editing on the Ovid platform, especially if working with longer, more complex strategies.

Simply paste a plain text version of your search strategy or search history into the search launcher, and from the 'Choose databases' drop down menu select the database you want to search, and then click outside the menu to retain your selection. The codes below align with the UniSA subscriptions. It is recommended to search one database at a time.

  • MEDLINE - medall
  • Embase - emczd
  • Emcare - emcr
  • PsycInfo - psyh
  • JBI - jbi

Learn more about searching

The following sections of this guide explore the process of systematic searching in more detail. Select the links below to go to the relevant page.