Searching for studies for inclusion in Cochrane Reviews: a core Cochrane methods introductory workshop for Cochrane Review authors and others

Session Type
Workshop - training
Information retrieval
Target audience
Review authors, researchers, consumers and others interested in this topic. A basic understanding of searching databases such as MEDLINE/PubMed is required
Level of difficulty

Background: searching for studies forms the basis of any systematic review, and the effectiveness of the searching in identifying the relevant studies for inclusion in the review has an impact on the reliability of the results of the review.
Objectives: to provide Cochrane Review authors with guidance on searching for studies for inclusion in a Cochrane Review. Participants will gain an understanding of some of the issues and challenges involved, and practical advice on successfully conducting searches and working with librarians and information specialists to undertake searches.
Description: questions to be considered will include: where to search for studies; how to search efficiently and what to do with the search results. This session is primarily aimed at Cochrane Review authors and will focus on Cochrane policy on searching for studies as described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Searching for studies) and the Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) standards ( The workshop will highlight each overall area addressed in the above chapter in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, including: - developing a search strategy using PICO; - sensitivity versus precision; - Boolean operators and controlled vocabulary; - going beyond MEDLINE/PubMed (identification and comparison of resources); - organizing and managing the search results and documenting and reporting the search process. The facilitator is the founding Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Information Retrieval Methods Group (IRMG) and lead author of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions' chapter on searching for studies, and also co-led the searching for studies element of the MECIR initiative. The session will include presentations, demonstrations, group discussion and hands-on exercises. An interactive approach will be adopted and questions and comments will be encouraged throughout. Participants should bring their own laptops and be prepared to share with those who are unable to do so.

Lefebvre C1
1, United Kingdom