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Stage 2: Developing the Search: Hand Searching

Hand Searching

"(Hand searching) involves a manual page-by-page examination of the entire contents of a journal issue or conference proceedings to identify all eligible reports of trials." The Cochrane Handbook

The purpose of hand searching is to find articles relevant to your research question that were missed during database indexing. This methodical process can include a:

  • Review of the table of contents or page-by-page review of core journals
  • Review of references from included studies
  • Examining editorials, letters from readers, etc.

Why is Hand Searching Important?

Hand searching is widely necessary (particularly for systematic reviews) because they:

How do I Conduct Hand Searching?

Prior to hand searching, your research team should consider the following questions: