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Lund University

Search, evaluate, write and cite: Save and document your searches

Support for students at the Faculty of Medicine.

Save and document your searches

Document your searches

In order for someone to reproduce your search, for example when you are doing a systematic review or structured literature review, it's important to document your searches. 

You need to document:

  • The databases you searched
  • Search strategies for each resource, including the search terms and limits used (e.g. dates, language, etc.)
  • The date each search was conducted
  • The number of results for each search strategy
  • If you made a manual search to complement your database searches, for ex. if you searched any individual journals separately or found articles in the reference lists of the articles you found.

The documentation of searches for each database should be added as an appendix to your thesis, see an example below.

Example of search documentation

If you are doing a systematic review or structured literature review, you need to document your final searches so that someone else can repeat them. You should add them as an appendix to your thesis. One table for each database you searched. This is an example of what it can look like. 

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Each search block is shown separately, and then added together. And at the end you can see what limitors have been applied at the end. Learn more about the building blocks search strategy at our Search stratiegies page.

Map the process

Cochrane Interactive Learning

Save searches in PubMed

Save your searches in CINAHL (Ebsco Host)

Video (3:48 min). Tutorial from UEA Library. NB that to log in to your EBSCOhost accont to save searches in CINAHL and other EBSCOhost databases at Lund University, you have to create an account in the database the first time. It's not the same as your LU studen login, but you can use the same login credentials if you want to.

Reference management - EndNote

If you want to save your search results, many databases have options for that or you can export them to a reference management system. Learn more on our EndNote page