Extensive online resources on how to search the literature
Individual search tutorials for SVHM staff (login required):
Please keep in mind that these tutorials are designed to teach you generic literature searching skills. With the exception of co-authorship, library staff do not design final search strategies for a systematic review which takes considerably longer to refine. Contact us to book a tutorial or find out more.
Translate your Medline search strategy into other databases
Record your methods as you go
Don't read all the results every time you search a database - get rid of duplicates first
There are times when you will need to record and share your search methodology, especially in the context of study or writing for publication. In addition to saving your search strategy in the database itself so you can run it again later, we strongly suggest keeping records in a Word document as you go.
It takes very little effort to record this information at the time, but it is impossible to recreate it later.
Ovid MEDLINE(R) ALL 1946 to August 28, 2020
Last searched 1 September, 2020 (1200 results)
1. exp *Dementia/
2. (dementia or alzheimer*).ti,ab.
3. 1 or 2
6. (aggress* or violen*).ti,ab.
7. 4 or 5 or 6
8. 3 and 7
9. limit 8 to (english language and yr="2010 -Current")
This search strategy is easily replicated by another person. Note the inclusion of:
If you are searching multiple databases for a review you will need to keep these records for every database you search. Strategies will differ from one database to another due to different subject headings and syntax/commands.
For most systematic reviews we recommend searching all of these bibliographic databases:
Depending on the topic, you may also like to search trial registers such as Clinicaltrials.gov or other grey literature resources
The following diagram shows the type of content, and a rough idea of the overlap, of key databases. It demonstrates the need for multiple databases to be included in a comprehensive literature search, but it does not attempt to be exact or exhaustive. Databases change constantly and there are many layers of duplication.
Keep in mind that the specialty area of a database is very broad, and it indicates the types of . For example a nursing and allied health database will still include articles on general medicine, psychology and radiology which are published in nursing and allied health journals. Likewise, there are many nursing related topics in Medline and PsycINFO. Medline and Embase cover an extremely wide range of topics.