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When searching for a systematic review it is important that you search across a range of databases, as no one database covers all the literature. The decision regarding which databases to search depends largely upon the topic of the review.
The databases listed below are usually the key databases to search for any systematic review.
Journal database covering biomedicine, nursing, life sciences, toxicology, nutrition and other related disciplines.
A comprehensive collection of biomedical and pharmacological journals.
A collection of seven databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.
AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine Database) (1985-)
Complementary medicine, palliative care and several professions allied to medicine.
15 concurrent users
Broad content coverage for nursing, midwifery and allied health specialties, speech and language pathology, general health and medicine.
Informit Health Collection
Australasian health information covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health; Incidence & prevention of disease; mental illness; nursing; pediatrics & geriatrics; personal health & safety; substance abuse, rural & remote health.
Joanna Briggs Institute
Evidence based resource for nursing, midwifery, dietetics, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography.
Maternity and infant care database (1985-)
International journals, books, and grey literature relating to the midwifery profession, pregnancy, labour, birth, postnatal care, infant feeding and neonatal care, infant care and parenthood.
5 concurrent users
Nursing and allied health database (ProQuest)
Nursing, allied health, alternative and complementary medicine, and more.
Behavioral sciences and mental health. Includes related disciplines such as medicine, law, social work, neuroscience, business, nursing, forensics and engineering.
Abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed journals, books and conference proceedings in a wide range of disciplines. Includes author and affiliation searches, citation impact and analytical tools.
Scopus has a limit of 2,000 citation exports.
SPORTDiscus with full text
Sports, health, fitness and well-being.
Web of science
Indexes high impact journals through ISI's citation indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded - 1956 to present; Social Sciences Citation Index - 1956 to present; Arts and Humanities Citation Index - 1975 to present.
Global health databases
African Index Medicus
Articles on or related to Africa and published in other regional or international journals are indexed
Global Health Library
Indexes medical information published in all WHO regions, searchable collectively or individually.
IMSEAR: Index Medicus for South-East Asia Region
Selected publications in health sciences in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Materials in IMSEAR include formally published health science journals, health reports and documents.
Latin-American and Caribbean health sciences literature containing citations in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
POPLINE (Population Information Online)
Reproductive health database, containing citations with abstracts to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in the field of population, family planning, and reproductive health issues.
Indexes multidisciplinary Chinese language journal articles, dissertations, statistics and conferences.
Thousands of WHO publications and technical documents in digital format are currently available online as well as citations to all WHO publications from 1948 onwards and articles from WHO-produced journals and technical documents from 1986 to the present.
WPRIM: Western Pacific Region Index Medicus
Index of medical and health journals published in member states of the WHO Western Pacific Region.
Searching the OVID (AMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycInfo, Maternity & Infant Care) and CINAHL databases is a little different than many other databases.
Follow these tips:
- Search for one term at a time
- Map terms to subject headings
- Read the Scope Notes
- Look at the Subject Headings Tree
- When in doubt, Explode but do not Focus
- Use Keywords when necessary
- Combine terms with Boolean Operators
- Limit/filter results as required.
The following sites include examples of pre-tested search filters. These are useful for checking for additional terms for your search strategies.
Filters by study deisgn
Tufts University - Useful MESH for EBM
Filters for diagnosis, therapy, prognosis, etiology/harm and economic analysis
McMaster University - Hedges
Filters for diagnosis, therapy, prognosis, etiology/harm and economic analysis for Medline, Embase and PsycInfo
Search filters for palliative care, heart failure, dementia, residential aged care and dementia.
Lowitja Institute -
Filters for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander health literature
BMJ Clinical Evidence
Study design search filters