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Systematic reviews: Trial registers

Searching trial registers for systematic reviews

Trial registers are commonly searched for systematic reviews, but their relevance will depend on your topic eg:

  • highly relevant when reviewing the clinical effectiveness of a medical intervention
  • less relevant to a review of lived experience narratives.

Why search trial registers?

  • Exploring trial registers can be particularly useful when looking for negative outcomes or reports that have not yet been published. 
  • If a trial has been completed but not reported on, why might that be?
  • If multiple trials of an intervention were cancelled due to poor recruitment or adverse effects, then what does that add to the published literature?
  • Do publications reflect the content of trial registers? if not, why not?

Trial registers include:

Record your methodology

  • name of register
  • search query
  • date searched
  • number of results

Guide author

Helen Wilding, Senior Research Librarian

Carl de Gruchy Library, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

Literature Searching, Systematic Reviews, Mental Health liaison 
Thursdays, Fridays & alternate Wednesdays
Helen's profile | Researchgate | Orcid