Available Until 12/31/2024

Show Your Work! How to Document and Report Search Strategies for Gold Standard Systematic Reviews (Recording)

Don’t let documentation get you down! This webinar will show you exactly what to track for a systematic review that meets the gold standard of search methods rigor and reporting. Whether you are new to working on systematic reviews or want to stay current with the latest reporting standards, you’ll review leading systematic review guidelines to learn which aspects of a search you’re expected to document, the level of detail required, and strategies for keeping it all organized.

Allison McArthur, who has supported scientists in conducting all types of synthesis research, co-authored reviews, and taught classes in review methods to librarians, will be your guide. Through scenario-based learning exercises, you’ll learn why documentation is important and how it can help you prevent and manage common challenges that arise during the review process. Since small search operators can have a big impact on the final search results, you'll learn to hone in on the search decisions that may need documented buy-in from the review team, and identify aspects of your strategies that may benefit from being annotated with a rationale.

Because inclusive language matters, you’ll explore the importance of documenting the context for selecting search terms related to equity-seeking groups. You’ll learn how you can use your search documentation to prompt discussion with the review team and acknowledge the harmful aspects of dated subject taxonomies and legacy metadata in the review manuscript.

This webinar will help you save time, level up your systematic review support, and CYA (that’s “Cover Your Areas,” of course) by documenting only what’s important for a reproducible review. You’ll also take home practical checklists and tools you can use to make sure your search methods documentation will stand up to the scrutiny of even the most discerning of peer reviewers.

This webinar is an approved elective for Level I of the Systematic Review Services Specialization.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe planned search methods in detail for systematic review manuscripts and protocols
  • Document search methods so that searches are reproducible and documentation complies with established systematic review standards
  • Identify key decision points when developing search methods, communicate them to the review team, and document the rationale and team buy-in for decisions


Medical librarians and other health information professionals who are interested in co-authoring or providing literature searching support to systematic reviews. Basic knowledge of the systematic review process is beneficial but not required.


PresenterAllison McArthur

Allison McArthur is an Information Specialist at Public Health Ontario (PHO), a provincial health research agency that provides scientific and technical advice to stakeholders in government, public health, health care, and related sectors. Since 2012, she has supported PHO scientists in conducting all types of synthesis research, and she has been involved in many systematic reviews from service provision to contributorship to co-authorship. She has completed Comprehensive Systematic Review Training Certification from the Joanna Briggs Institute (Queen's Collaboration for Health Care Quality, 2018) and has delivered review methods consultation and instruction to library students, librarians, and researchers across Ontario.

Registration Information

  • Length: 1.5 hour webinar
  • Technical information: After you have registered, go to My Learning in MEDLIB-ED to access the live webinar, resources, evaluation, and certificate.
  • Register, participate, and earn 1.5 MLA continuing education (CE) contact hours.

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