What to Document
- Documentation is important.
- As an investigator you must document search information for the final paper
- Search strategies should be detailed enough that the searches are reproducible
- complete reproducible search strategies
- databases searched and dates of coverage
- date searches were run, including any updates
- grey literature sources searched
- other search techniques - hand searching, scanning bibliographies of pertinent authors, contacting experts
- individuals of organizations contacted
- number or unique citations retrieved from searches
- number of duplicates identified
Saving and Updating the Search
- It is important to save your search strategies for reproducibility, transparency, and inclusion in your systematic review manuscript.
- Databases provide the option to save search strategies and update a search when necessary. Examples:
- PubMed/My NCBI - Saves searches and results, and features an option to automatically update and e-mail search results from your saved searches. You can also save collections of articles, and rerun saved searches to update them. MyNCBI displays a list of your saved searches indefinitely. Free registration is required.
- Embase - Save searches and create email alerts. Free registration is required. To save a search in Embase, run the search, click on save, save to a folder. To create an RSS feed or an email alert, mouse over the results number, click set rss feed, or set email alert.
Managing Your Search Retrieval and Analysis
- Use bibliographic management software such as EndNote to:
- maintain a searchable database of references related to the systematic review
- store all references selected for the systematic review and identify duplicate references
- store all discarded references
- create citations and bibliography when writing up the results of the SR
- The librarian you work with, or librarians on staff can:
- help you to use bibliographic management software such as EndNote to store your systematic review references
- send you EndNote libraries of references found in literature searches for your systematic review
- conduct classes for your review group, and be available for personal tutorials in your lab or office.