Skip to Main Content
UC Logo
Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Systematic Reviews & Library Assistance

The Actual Search

Running the actual searches for your systematic review requires a few things. Prior to beginning be prepared to:

  1. Run all searches in a single date
  2. Save all results and export into a citation manager
  3. IF you use any filters, make note of the ones applied to your search
  4. Determine if grey literature will be included and how this searching will be conducted
  5. Keep track of EVERYTHING (totals from each database, number of duplicates, search strings, date ran, etc.). Some information you will need for your PRISMA flow diagram and other for the Methods section.


Run all database searches on the same day

Search for grey literature, hand searching, etc. (if applicable)

Step 12: Run the searches

Running the individual searches in each database should be straight forward since your search strings have already been created and tested. Your searches may return a large number of results and you want to keep track of all of these - including duplicates and those you will exclude later. Citation managers or Covidence can help you with this process. The library currently supports:

Other helpful tools include:

Step 13: Grey Literature Search

A comprehensive and exhaustive systematic review will include a search of nontraditional publications known as grey literature. This type of literature is not usually found in your average library database. Examples of grey literature include:

  • Conference proceedings
  • White papers
  • Technical Reports
  • Theses/Dissertations
  • Government reports

Grey literature can be found through:

Other search methods include contacting experts, citation and reference searching, and hand searching key journals.

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

Contact Us | Staff Directory

University of Cincinnati

Alerts | Clery and HEOA Notice | Notice of Non-Discrimination | eAccessibility Concern | Privacy Statement | Copyright Information

© 2021 University of Cincinnati