Flinders University Library
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Systematic Literature Searches

Documenting your searches

Document your searches
How much detail you should use when documenting your searches can vary. Generally speaking, we recommend that the documentation, as a minimum, includes:

Name of resource searched
Record all detail e.g. not just Cochrane but Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Issue 12 of 12, December 2017. Include database platforms too, e.g., not just Medline but Medline (Ovid).

Date search was executed
Important as databases/web resources are dynamic.

Search strategy
This should incorporate terms used and how they were combined (e.g. AND, OR, ADJ). Copying and pasting the search history into a Word document is the easiest way to do this.
Number of results retrieved by the search
Record the numbers of citations retrieved for each database.
Creating account in databases is another way of saving your results.
In most databases you can create a profile and save your searches. You can also set up alerts on searches that will alert you to new results that meet your search criteria.