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Systematic Reviews

Searching for information

In the planning stages we looked at using the formula PEO to identify key concepts in your search.  You now need to think about how to conduct and combine your search using advanced search techniques:

  • Boolean operators
  • Truncation and wildcards
  • Phrase searching
  • Proximity searching
  • Subject headings

See: Carrying out a structured search  for more information.


Discovery is great for carrying out a broad scoping search.  However, the Library has access to many subject specific databases which will give you much more functionality and focused search results.

Below is a list of databases that are relevant for the area of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law.  

It is essential to keep a record of your searches so that they can be included in your report. This ensures that all relevant databases are searched in a comprehensive and systematic way, and also enables someone else to reproduce your searches if necessary.


  • Keep a record of the date your searched, the name of the databases and platform, the number of results retrieved.
  • Register with the databases so that you can save your searches, and save results.
  • Build your search up in steps recording the results found at each stage.
  • Copy and save your search history for each database you search - they may need to be included in you report.
  • Set up alerts to notify you of any new papers relevant to your review.

Example of Search Record

Search record

Using material on this page