Skip to main content

Quick links to Systematic Reviews: Searching for Literature

Where to search

1. Bibliographic databases - search all relevant studies from a range of relevant databases

2. Subject-specific databases and National regional - literatures not indexed in major medical and health databases

3. Grey literature - literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles

4. Handsearching - involves page-by-page examination of relevant journal issues, conference proceedings, relevant reports of trials

5. Citation indexes - track for possible and related literatures

NOTE: Assessing risk of bias (quality assessment) 

Key Biomedical Databases

Key databases that you will use when conducting a medical and health literature review.

Subject Specific Databases

CINAHLA major resource for nursing and allied health literatures.

ERIC: Educatinal Resources Information CenterReferences journal articles and unpublished documents on educational theory and practice. Indexes research on education policy and practice in development contexts.

OT Seeker A useful resource for  finding systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy.

PEDro -  A useful resource for rapid access to bibliographic details and abstracts of randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy.

PsycINFO (1806-present) - The major database for psychlogy, provides access to international literature in psychology and related disciplines, including psychiatry, social sciences, business, health & medicine, law, and linguistics. 

PsycBITE - Catalogues studies of cognitive, behavioural and other treatments for psychological problems and issues occurring as a consequence of acquired brain impairment (ABI).

SpeechBITEFreely available catalogue of Best Interventions and Treatment Efficacy across the scope of Speech Pathology practice.

SPORTDiscus - A major resource covering sport, physical fitness, exercise, sports medicine, sports science, physical education and biomechanics

Trip Database Health and medical search engine that simultaneously searches evidence based sources of systematic reviews, practice guidelines, and critically appraised topics and articles. 

National / Regional Databases

Video tutorials

Sydney University Library

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University - 11 video tutorials on systematic approaches to searching the health science literature.

To view video tutorials - (11 videos)

Citation Indexes

Citation indexes used to identify studies for a review by checking references from source articles, to find more relevant literatures to the review.

Web of Science

Contains Science Citation Index Expanded 1900-, Social Sciences Citation Index 1956-, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index from 1975. Identify key articles in a discipline and search by cited reference, (trace references that refer to a particular work or author). 


Scopus is a large multidisciplinary database covering published material in the humanities and sciences. It also provides citation analysis of authors and subject areas.

Google Scholar

Good for broad searches of scholarly literature. Also useful to find references which cite other academic articles.