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Searching systematically: Home

How to search systematically, from developing a good research question to managing your search results

Being systematic...

Being systematic is searching, selecting and managing the best available evidence for research, according to a  defined, planned and consistent method.

“The search strategies used should, therefore, be published (e.g., as an appendix to the review) and be fully replicable by third parties. They should also be transparent and explainable, so they can be reproduced as and when required. This is not only to minimise bias and errors, but also to reduce costs and hence reduce waste in research.”

MacFarlane, A., Russell-Rose, T., & Shokraneh, F. (2022). Search strategy formulation for systematic reviews: issues, challenges and opportunities. Intelligent Systems with Applications, 15.

5 steps of evidence based medicine

5 steps evidence based medicine

This libguide covers the first two steps

Searching systematically - the steps


ASK patient-centred, focused question(s) - construct well-built clinical questions.

ACQUIRE the best evidence relevant to your questions - select the appropriate resource(s), conduct search(es).

  1. Which resources will you use?
  2. Develop an appropriate search strategy.

DOCUMENT your search.

SCREEN your results.

APPRAISE critically the evidence to check for bias, quality, reliability, applicability.

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