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Evidence Syntheses & Systematic Reviews: Search & Document

Methods Documentation


  • Develop data management plan and file naming standards at outset.

Develop and Register Protocol

Best practice is to register your protocol (search question/plan) prior to conducting your Systematic Review. You may also search these registries to see if your review is currently underway.

Document Search

Important step that helps when writing up your report. 

  • Resources searched 
    • Database and platform
    • Other resources
    • Other methods used
  • Exact search string
    • Copy & paste 
  • Date search was conducted
  • Number of results
  • Notes for self on search 

PRISMA Guidelines

Search Term Generation Tools & More

Keyword Generation - Brainstorming 

When generating keywords to search consider (in addition to known scientific terminology)

  • Author supplied keywords
  • Controlled Vocabulary
  • British spelling
  • Common misspellings
  • Colloquial terminology
  • Abbreviations

Keyword Generation - Tools

Other Search Methods

Citation Chaining

  • Look through reference list of article of interest.
  • Use resources to find more recent articles that cited article of interest.


  • Search through journals from cover to cover.


  • Useful for finding government or professional reports.