A clear methodology for finding studies is an essential element of a systematic review. Your approach needs to be well documented (transparent) and as replicable as possible. This is the stage of a systematic review where consultation with a librarian is valuable. We have extensive experience with the databases most often used in reviews. We know what they cover (and miss) and how they vary. Through conversation and exploratory searching, librarians can help you find the right balance between search sensitivity and specificity, and they can assist in finalizing a valid search protocol.
Searching is an iterative process, and you will already have done some exploratory searching before you get to this point in the review process. During protocol development, you will have identified relevant databases, search terms, and studies. These will help you build your systematic search strategy that you will report out in your methods section (the more detailed and transparent you are about this process, the better, so it helps to keep track).
Don't forget your librarians are here to help!
Using Medical Subject Headings in PubMed
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.