Systematic literature searches

A structured and thorough literature search is an essential part of a systematic review. The search should be exhaustive, thus retrieving all potentially relevant studies, as well as being transparently documented and reported.

Depending on the project and report type at SBU, the scope of the searches can vary. For example, a full HTA report (SBU Assessment) always includes an exhaustive literature search aiming for high sensitivity. Thus, the literature search is based on an elaborate and comprehensive search strategy, covering all known terms for a specific topic, and conducted in several databases. In addition, supplementary search methods, such as citation tracking and screening of reference lists, are used.

The information specialists at SBU have an integral role in planning and conducting the literature searches at the agency. The information specialist team adheres to established methodology, as stated in the SBU Handbook (only in Swedish) and follows the PRISMA-S guidelines for reporting. For quality assurance, PRESS is used for peer review of search strategies.

Full search documentation for each SBU project is published (in an English language template) on the SBU website.