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Systematic Review

Documenting your source

You will need to keep track of:

  • Databases searched, including database provider/platform (e.g. Medline via Ebsco)
  • Date search was conducted (and updated)
  • Other resources searched: Study registries, online resources and browsing, citation searching, contacts, other methods
  • Full search strategies – copy and pasted exactly as run
  • Any limits/restrictions applied and justification for their use
  • Published search filters used
  • Acknowledgement of prior work (adapted or reused search strategies)
  • Search peer review process
  • Total number of records identified from each database and other information sources
  • Deduplication processes and software used

Systematic Review Timeline


PRISMA stands for Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. It is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

The PRISMA statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a 4-phase flow diagram. 

  Cochrane strongly encourage that review authors include a study flow diagram as recommended by the PRISMA statement.

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