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Systematic reviews

Overview of systematic review steps and resources to assist researchers conducting reviews.

Handsearching is a critical part of the review to find materials not found through traditional searches. It is a manual process to examine and identify further relevant studies and includes:

  • Perusing the pages of key journals, conferences and other sources
  • Checking reference lists of identified articles and documents

Why is it important?

  • Not all databases index items comprehensively. This may be because not all information is included in records or because not all content of the journal is indexed.
  • Searches may not be comprehensive enough or may not include relevant key terms.
  • Authors may not have described articles accurately with key terms used.
  • Allows more detailed scanning of key journals and other sources.
  • Some sources are not included in traditional databases.
  • Ensures that relevant studies are not overlooked.

The Cochrane Training link below provides further information on handsearching.