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Michigan State University

Nursing Literature and Other Types of Reviews

Step by step guide on how to conduct a literature review.

Selecting a Database and Saving Your Search

Documenting the Search

Once you've finalized your search, you will want to make sure you document the search you did. This is important for a number of reasons, including showing how you got the results you got from your search, helping you document the search for any future publications, and saves you time and avoids frustration doing multiple searches in the same databases.

You should document:

  • Databases you used
  • The search strategy for each databases (keywords as well as entire search string)
  • Date you searched
  • Any limits you used (time, language, etc.)
  • Number of results for each database

Saving Your Search

Each database has their own mechanism for saving searches. Below are some ways to save searches in the most commonly used nursing databases.

If you are undertaking a large search for a journal publication, are planning to do a systematic review, or are needing something that is more robust, consider using a citation management software. EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero are all citation management tools that can be used to manage citations.

If you're planning to do a systematic review or meta-analysis, please contact the librarian for assistance in drafting an appropriate protocol. Consider using Covidence (MSU has a subscription to this software).