Literature searching is an important part of a Cochrane review and the authors are supported in the searching process by Cochrane Information Specialist (CIM), Janne Vendt.
The CIM’s main responsibilities
- Facilitating the search process
- Checking search strategies for protocols and full reviews
- Keeping the group’s specialized register up to date
The search process
Throughout the review process, authors must follow the latest version of Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. See chapter 6 for further information about the search process.
The CIM can offer the authors support on:
- How to build the systematic search string based on the PICO.
- Suggesting additional search terms (subject headings or text words) in addition to the author’s search terms.
- Adapting the initial search in Medline to other databases.
The authors should as a minimum search for published, unpublished and ongoing studies in the following databases:
- The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library
- MEDLINE Ovid (Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE(R) Daily and Ovid MEDLINE(R) 1946 to Present)
- Embase Ovid (1974 onwards)
- World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
Find other relevant databases in Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
· Check the search result for new relevant subheadings or text words that should be added to the search string.
· Examine the reference lists of relevant studies and reviews.
· Do a citation search of relevant studies and reviews.
· Check Web sites of professional societies.
· Check relevant conference proceedings.
If relevant contact authors and manufacturers of drugs for additional or missing information.
It is important to make the search broad and sensitive in order to capture all relevant studies. If the search result is very large it can be necessary to use a filter for RCT studies or to find another way to narrow down the search and make the screening process acceptable.
Keep an accurate record of all your searches as it is important that the search methods are reported clearly in the finished review.
The final designed search strategy should be a common effort between the authors and the CIM.
At the moment ACE doesn’t have an updated specialized register, but the CIM is currently working on an upgrade of the database.
The CIM do no longer routinely design searches and search all databases for authors but will run a search for an author, if the database is not available in that person's country.
The search result
Before starting the screening process it is recommended to load the search result into a reference manager and remove the duplicates.
If you have any questions during the search process please do get in touch with the Cochrane Information specialist Janne Vendt