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This chapter outlines some general issues in searching for studies; describes the main sources of potential studies; and discusses how to plan the search process, design and carry out search strategies, manage references found during the search process, correctly document the search process and select studies from the search results. It provides advice and guidance for medical/healthcare librarians and information specialists (within and beyond Cochrane) involved in the search process to identify studies for inclusion in systematic reviews. For review authors, alerts are a useful tool to help monitor what is being published in their review topic after the original search has been conducted. By following the alert, authors can become aware of a new study that meets the review’s eligibility criteria, and decide either to include it in the review immediately or mention it as a ‘study awaiting assessment’ for inclusion during the next review update.

Original publication




Book title

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions

Publication Date



67 - 107