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Systematic Reviews

This is a guide to conducting systematic reviews, a structured, comprehensive approach to reviewing the literature on a selected topic.

Search Strategy

Next, you'll need to define your overall search strategy. For example

  • What search terms will you use? It can be helpful to conduct an informal, preliminary search of the literature to identify appropriate search terms
  • How will you employ the Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)?
  • What databases will you use for your search? This will depend on the discipline in which you are conducting your research.
  • How will you find Gray Literature (discussed on the next page)?
  • On what date will you conduct your search?

All of these choices need to be documented and included in your protocol. Users of your systematic review will be able to read the protocol to determine exactly how you found and selected the studies that made the final cut

Remember, your Research Services Librarian can help you with these questions! If you're unsure of which databases to use, having trouble developing effective search terms, or want to learn more about the quirks of specific databases, you can reach out to your librarian for help!