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Scoping Reviews

Find Existing Reviews

Why Search for Existing Reviews?

Once you have a clearly defined research question, you will want to search other reviews on your topic. Finding existing reviews

  1. tells you if your planned scoping review has already been done before, in which case you can either amend your research question or find a way to materially improve on or update the existing scoping review
  2. shows you where your review fits into the scholarly conversation and enables you to acknowledge the existence of related reviews in your introduction
  3. gives you a means to mine relevant sources from related reviews
  4. provides examples for how to conduct your own review (note what questions and criteria are included in these reviews, pay attention to search terms and databases used to search for studies)

Where to Find Systematic Reviews

You can search for systematic reviews in PsycINFO in one of two ways.

  1. Limit your search by methodology
  2. Include Systematic Review as a search term. To be thorough, use a search phrase like...“systematic review*” OR "research synthesis" OR "synthesis of research" OR "meta analysis" OR "meta-analysis"

In SocINDEX, you cannot easily limit your searches by methodology, so you'll need to use keyword searches to find review articles. 

Start by adding the keywords for your topic, then add an additional line of terms to capture reviews... “systematic review*” OR "research synthesis" OR "synthesis of research" OR "meta analysis" OR "meta-analysis"

In Education Source and ERIC, you cannot easily limit your searches by methodology, so you'll need to use keyword searches to find review articles. 

Start by adding the keywords for your topic, then add an additional line of terms to capture reviews... “systematic review*” OR "research synthesis" OR "synthesis of research" OR "meta analysis" OR "meta-analysis"

You can search for reviews in Medline in two ways...

1) Under the "Publication Type" limit, select both "Meta analysis" and "Review"

2) Include Systematic Review as a search term. To be thorough, use a search phrase like...“systematic review*” OR "research synthesis" OR "synthesis of research" OR "meta analysis" OR "meta-analysis"

You can search for systematic reviews in CINAHL in one of two ways.

  1. Limit your search by Publication Type; select "Meta analysis," "Meta synthesis" and "Systematic Review"
  2. Include Systematic Review as a search term. To be thorough, use a search phrase like...“systematic review*” OR "research synthesis" OR "synthesis of research" OR "meta analysis" OR "meta-analysis"

Start by entering your search terms in the basic search. On the results page, limit by Article Types with Meta-Analysis and Systematic reviews. Make sure you click to activate the filters after choosing them from and closing the pop-up box.

Click Advanced Search. Type in your search terms, and make sure "Review" is checked.

 

Use the search or advanced search from the top right corner. You can filter results by date, status, language, or topic.

To take advantage of special limiters for Compendex, (or Inspec or GeoRef) --- these three are searched together unless otherwise specified --- the other databases need to be turned off.

However, systematic reviews are not specifically labeled as a document type or as a treatment type in these databases.  That means that you will need to use "systematic review" as part of the search statement to specifically look for that type of review.

For example:  subject/title/abstract seismic and retrofit* and "systematic review*"


Compendex  To limit any subject search to a literature review: 

  • "turn off" Inspec and GeoRef
  • Look for the "Treatment" option --- below the search box --- and select "Literature Review."

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Inspec  To use the option to limit to a "General review,"

  • "turn off Compendex and GeoRef
  • Look under "Treatment" for the "General review" option.

 

GeoRef   There's no special treatment label.

To find systematic reviews in SciFinder, include the phase "systematic review" as part of a RESEARCH TOPIC search.  For example:

systematic reviews of consumer anti-bacterial soaps

 

Web of Science is both a subject index and a citation index.  

 

-As a subject index,

  • there is no pre-set option to limit a topic search to systematic reviews, but you may create a search combining your topic with the phrase, "systematic review."  For example: desalination and sustainable and "systematic review" 
  • for the review literature (that is, for literature review of all types):  

Web of Science lit review

 

-As a citation index,

  • Web of Science can help by helping you find which articles have cited an article you have identified for inclusion in your study.
  • See Finding Citing Papers for details on how to search in this way.

Where to find protocols for Systematic Reviews in progress

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