Skip to Main Content
hse hli logo

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.

A search of the literature must be systematic… “to be transparent, accountable and replicable” (Gough 2012 p 116)


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 your search strategy

DOCUMENT your search

SCREEN your results

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

Health Library Ireland, Health Service Executive. Dr. Steevens' Library, Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8. D08 W2A8 Tel: 01-6352555/8. Email: