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Systematic Reviews: Run your search on other databases
Overview of systematic review methodology and key strategies for searching and reporting to the Cochrane Collaboration's Gold Standard
After you have run your search on MEDLINE, you need to run it on your other databases. Your new search should be the same as your MEDLINE search, only changing as much as necessary to get it to work in the new database.
This page will show you how to remap your master MEDLINE search to other Ovid databases (Embase, Emcare, and PsycINFO), PubMed, The Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Web of Science.
Different databases use different search syntax, operators, and default search fields. When you are remapping your master search to your chosen databases, it is important to consider whether you will need to adapt any aspects of your search strategy such as phrase searches, truncation, wildcards, and adjacency.
The PDF below shows how to translate these elements across a number of key databases:
Keyword lines will not have a forward slash/ and will end in a field code such as .mp, which is the default code in Ovid.
When remapping searches to different Ovid databases, you do not generally need to change your keyword lines.
You may, however, choose to change your field codes. E.g. to search across title, abstract and author-supplied fields in MEDLINE you would use .tw,kf. To search those same fields in Embase, you would need to change this to .ti,ab,kw.
If the subject headings are too broad or are not relevant, remove that subject heading line from your search. Be sure to correct your combination lines.
Remember the aim is to cover the same search scope as your master MEDLINE search.
Note: Embase and Emcare both use the same subject headings (the 'Emtree'), so mapping between these two databases is usually not necessary. However, Emcare subject headings are updated annually (Jan), while Embase subjects headings are updated three times a year. This means the two versions of the Emtree might be slightly inconsistent towards the end of the calendar year. To avoid this, double-check any Emcare subject heading lines that yield 0 results.
You can run each line as an individual search and then combine all your searches, just like in Ovid databases.
Once you have entered a search line, select the dropdown next to 'Search' and choose 'Add to History'.
Repeat these steps for each concept. You will need to select the 'Text Word' option each time.
Use the truncation symbol (*) to find word variations.
Once you have added all your concepts to your search history, combine your searches by selecting the ellipses in your search history and choosing 'Add with AND'.
The search builder at the top of the page will update to match your selections.
Once you have added all your concepts, change the 'Add to History' drop down back to 'Search' to view your results.
Video Length: 1:56
Note: The PubMed interface has recently been updated. The steps provided in the video above are the same, however for more accurate steps and screenshots, please select the heading above or visit the PubMed Training Centre.
Evaluating the usefulness of your results can be challenging.
Start by looking at the title.
If the paper looks relevant, select the title to see the full record.
Next, read the abstract.
To view the full text PDF of the paper, select the full text links on the right hand side.
This will open a new tab. From here, select the PDF link to open the PDF.
To collate a list of relevant articles, select the check box to the left of relevant titles.
When you have marked all the relevant articles, select 'Sent to' from the top of the results list. From here you can choose to email the citation information or export to a reference management software such as EndNote.
Neither database has subject headings, so you don't need to enter these lines.
Perform a basic search, entering one keyword line at a time.
Add double quotes around all phrases (e.g. "back pain*").
Repeat this process for all keyword lines in your search.
Use the Search History to combine lines together.
For Scopus, include the # before the numbers for your combination lines (e.g. #1 or #2).
If you used proximity/adjacency symbols (i.e. adj3 in MEDLINE), change these to:
near/3 for Web of Science, or
W/3 for Scopus
Video Length: 1:32
Note: If you have a very long keyword line, you might not be able to fit it all your search terms on one line. Split your keywords over several searches and combine those with OR. Alternatively, try using the advanced search options.