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Systematic review guide: 3. Choosing resources


When conducting a review it is important that you search across a range of resources and databases.

  1. Journal databases: When searching for a systematic review it is important that you search across a range of databases, as no one database covers all the health-related literature. The decision regarding which databases to search depends largely upon the topic of the review. Searches of bibliographic databases usually identify the bulk of the literature to be reviewed.
  2. Grey literature: Includes includes a wide range of resources. Grey lit may be ephemeral (that is, of questionable relevance or quality), but it continues to have an impact.
  3. Handsearching: Involves page-by-page examination of relevant journal issues, conference proceedings and other publications for relevant studies.
  4. Citation indexes: Track references authors include in the reference lists of their publications.
  5. Protocols and Research in Progress: Checking protocols and research in progress will help avoid duplication of research.