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Systematic Reviews, a Guide: Getting Started in Searching

Example of the Systematic Review Process


Handsearching is a highly recommended searching technique to ensure you did not miss any relevant articles on your topic.

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions defines handsearching (  -- also spelled hand searching and hand-searching -- as:

"Handsearching involves a manual page-by-page examination of the entire contents of a journal issue or conference proceedings to identify all eligible reports of trials. In journals, reports of trials may appear in articles, abstracts, news columns, editorials, letters or other text.

Handsearching healthcare journals and conference proceedings can be a useful adjunct to searching electronic databases for at least two reasons: (1) not all trial reports are included in electronic bibliographic databases, and (2) even when they are included, they may not contain relevant search terms in the titles or abstracts or be indexed with terms that allow them to be easily identified as trials (Dickersin 1994)."

(Emphasis ours)

Where to Search

Suggested Databases/Resources

Before beginning work, it is helpful to see if any systematic reviews on your topic already exist. The following databases can be searched for systematic reviews:

General and Subject Specific Databases:



**Ebling does not have access to this database

What Next?

Please see How to Search and Grey Literature for next steps in the search process