Literature Search Strategies

A search strategy in Cochrane Reviews is a systematic plan designed to identify all relevant studies on a particular topic. It involves specifying the databases to search, the keywords and terms to use, and the inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting studies. This strategy is fundamental for a comprehensive and unbiased collection of evidence, minimizing the risk of missing important studies and therefore enhancing the reliability and validity of the review's conclusions.

Review authors should work closely, from the protocol stage, with an experienced medical/health librarian or information specialist to develop a search strategy that should aim to include at least the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and MEDLINE, together with Embase.

You can contact us to search for support to plan and develop a coherent search strategy. According to our capacity at the moment, we may be able to help you!

Detailed information can be found in the online Cochrane Handbook, within Chapter 4: Searching for and selecting studies.

Search methods needs to meet the Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR). These methodological standards (C-24-C38)can be found here, along with links to further information, resources and training.

Information intended for medical/healthcare librarian or information specialists can be found at the Information Specialist's Portal.