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Literature Searching for Systematic Reviews

Literature Searching for Systematic Review

Welcome to the library guide to resources for systematic reviews! Systematic reviews are important in public health, social welfare, health sciences and a growing number of disciplines. In this guide, the focus is on important aspects related to the literature search.

For further questions, please contact;

Sue Kaczor, subject librarian for Public Health, Social Welfare and Nursing -

What is a Systematic Review?

According to the Cochrane Library: "A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making."


Searching Tips and Tricks

  • Subjects vs. keywords
  • Select a few important articles
  • Select databases
  • Identify scope of coverage
  • Identify date range
  • Document, document document!

Searching Syntax

  • Use truncators
  • Use Boolean
  • Save searches
  • Use search history to combine concept blocks
  • Use advanced search