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Health Sciences Systematic Reviews

Guidance for conducting health sciences systematic reviews.

Journal Article Databases

You need to search databases that cover the topic of interest. Different questions require the use of different databases.

These journal article databases are frequently used for health sciences systematic reviews. If necessary, you can also view the Database A-Z List below to find additional databases relevant for your topic.

Databases include different journals. You need to search multiple databases published by different companies and agencies in order to find the full scope of relevant literature published.

PubMed and Ovid Medline are both MEDLINE. You only need to search one or the other. Not both. 

Database A-Z List

Database Tutorials

How do I find more database guides & tutorials?

  1. Search Google or YouTube for the name of the database plus training/help/tutorial. 
  2. Go into the database and look for a help section or question mark (?) icon. 

Google Scholar

You can search Google Scholar in an effort to capture journal articles missed from other database searches.

  • Google Scholar will retrieve thousands of results. In general, include only the first 200 citations. 
  • Google Scholar has limited search features and no controlled vocabulary.
  • Google Scholar has a 256 character search limit. Google Scholar search strategy should be a simplified version of your other database search strategies. 

Cited References & Cited By

SR teams should examine the reference lists and citing articles of studies included in the review to find additional relevant articles missed by database searches. 

For a more detailed explanation, see ITEM 2C: CITATION SEARCHING of the PRISMA-S Explanation and Elaboration document. 

Hand Searching

Hand searching refers to reading through specific journal table of contents and selecting articles relevant to the research topic to find additional relevant articles missed by database searches. 

For a more detailed explanation, see ITEM 2B: MANUAL SEARCHING of the PRISMA-S Explanation and Elaboration document.