Skip to Main Content

Systematic Reviews

This guide explains the principles of systematic reviews and offers advice on getting started with your systematic literature search.

Approaching the Search

A systematic review aims to capture as many relevant studies as possible as well as to minimize the bias, which can only be done by searching more than one database. According to the Cochrane Handbook: "A search in Medline alone is not considered adequate." 

At the very minimum, at least the three databases listed below in "Recommended Databases" should be used. 

A systematic review is predicated on a systematic search of the literature. Documenting your search strategy will be required in order to accurately construct the methodology of your study. In order to achieve, transparency and reproducibility of your research, the team must document which databases were searched on which specific platforms and include the full search strategies used. Including a librarian on your systematic review team will more easily facilitate this goal.

Recommended Databases


Subject Specific Databases: Based on your topic, you may want to search subject specific databases