Skip to Main Content

Systematic Reviews: Searching

Databases to Search

No one index includes all journal articles so you'll need to search multiple databases. There are three main databases to search:

Depending on your topic you may also want to search:

Reporting your Search

PRISMA-S Checklist: a guide on how to describe your search strategies in your manuscript

Searching Guidelines

Search Hedges

Hedges are search strings created by expert searchers to help you retrieve specific types of studies or topics. 

Find Existing Systematic Reviews

Before you start a systematic review, it's a good idea to see if one has already been published on your topic.  There are several places to find them: 


Searches ten different databases for systematic reviews. 


Search for your topic and select "Systematic Review" in Article Types on the left.


An online registry of systematic reviews currently in progress.


Scoping Search

Before you start a systematic review, it's a good idea to do a quick scoping search to get an idea of what kinds of studies and how many studies have been written on your topic. 

Evaluating Search Strings