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6.3.1  Involving Trials Search Co-ordinators and healthcare librarians in the search process

It is the responsibility of each CRG to support review authors in identifying reports of studies for inclusion in their reviews, and most CRGs employ a Trials Search Co-ordinator to fulfil this role (see Section Most CRGs offer support to authors in study identification from the early planning stage to the final write-up of the review for publication in the CDSR. This support might include designing search strategies or advising on their design, running searches, in particular in databases not available to the review author at their institution, and providing review authors with lists of references to studies from the CRG’s Specialized Register and possibly from other databases. The range of services offered varies across CRGs according to the resources available. Review authors are, therefore, encouraged to contact the Trials Search Co-ordinator of their CRG at the earliest stage for advice and support.


If authors are conducting their own searches, they should seek advice from their Trials Search Co-ordinator with respect to which database(s) to search and the exact strategies to be run. It should also be borne in mind that the search process needs to be documented in enough detail throughout to ensure that it can be reported correctly in the review, to the extent that all the searches of all the databases are reproducible. The full search strategies for each database should be included in the review in an Appendix. It is, therefore, important that review authors should save all search strategies and take notes at the time to enable the completion of that section at the appropriate time. For further guidance on this, authors should contact their Trials Search Co-ordinator, and see Section 6.6.


If the CRG is currently without a Trials Search Co-ordinator it is recommended that review authors seek guidance from a healthcare librarian or information specialist, where possible with experience of supporting systematic reviews.