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Stage 2: Developing the Search: Save & Document Search Strategies

Save the Search Strategies

To help document your search, create an account with the databases you are using and save your searches. A saved search will be useful when you re-run your search strategy.

To save your searches, you will usually need to create a free account with each database.

Creating an account in your databases and saving your searches allows you to:

  • Retrieve your search strategy at any time (this could be useful in the event that you do not have your database search strategy documented in your search plan)
  • Re-run your search at any time
  • Set-up email alerts based on your search strategy. The database can email you when new references are added that match your saved search strategy

Refer to the Help section in each database for assistance with creating an account, saving searches, and setting up alerts.

Document the Final Search Strategies

Synthesis reviews should be transparent to ensure that they may be reproducible. To enable others to reproduce your study, you will need to include the exact copies of your search strategies in an appendix of the review.

When documenting your search strategy, ensure that it is copy and pasted in full rather than re-typed to avoid potential errors (Cochrane Handbook, 6.6.1). The search strategy that you present should retrieve the exact search results that were found on the date that you conducted the search.