Systematic Search

Systematic Search

An evidence-based practitioner needs to conduct thorough research that helps solve healthcare problems.         When searching for systematic reviews, there are no sufficient diagnostic search filters. In this regard, it is important to have a search strategy that is sensitive to both text words and controlled vocabulary. A comprehensive search strategy should have several databases as well as grey literature sources.

These strategies include

  1. Not relying on search filters alone

Search filters, also known as hedges, are tested and pre-prepared searches that can be used together with other searches on a particular condition or disease. They are important in aiding evidence-based practitioners and systematic reviewers to evaluate medical tests. These searches are widely used by EMBASE and diagnostic imaging.

  1. Not relying on subject headings alone

When conducting a systematic review search, it is advisable to use known variants such as generic, abbreviations, proprietary names, spellings, and international terms (Delahaye et al., 2016). The use of text words can help in identifying medical articles that are yet to be indexed. Filters seek to suggest appropriate text words.

  1. Searching in multiple locations

In this strategy, systematic reviewers are advised to search several databases then in turn tailor strategies to individual databases. There is always overlapping of databases and failure to search additional databases searches become very bias (Shin, Woo & Mulchaey, 2016).

Indexing and reporting need to be standardized and improved to enhance sensitive searches. This remains as the best approach in searching systematic reviews in healthcare. Besides, it is of great importance to track citations, read references for specific articles as well as identify articles, which cite key studies (Milošević, Teixeira, Tanaka, Johansson & Sandberg, 2020). In addition to citation analysis and bibliographic databases, regulatory documents form a reliable source of evidence for systematic reviews of evidence-based reviews.


Delahaye, F., M’Hammedi, A., Guerpillon, B., de Gevigney, G., Boibieux, A., Dauwalder, O., … & Vandenesch, F. (2016). A systematic search for present and potential portals of entry for infective endocarditis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology67(2), 151-158.

Milošević, J., Teixeira, A., Tanaka, T., Johansson, K. H., & Sandberg, H. (2020). Security measure allocation for industrial control systems: Exploiting systematic search techniques and submodularity. International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control30(11), 4278-4302.

Shin, J., Woo, J. H., & Mulchaey, J. S. (2016). A systematic search for x-ray cavities in galaxy clusters, groups, and elliptical galaxies. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series227(2), 31.