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Systematic Reviews for Business and Management: Managing your search results


When carrying out a systematic review you will need to be able to report how you undertook your search strategy and be able to manage your search results.  

This page highlights resources in supporting you to manage your results and report your search strategy.

Reporting Your Search Strategy

When reporting your search, you will need to be clear and transparent: give the details of the sources selected, the types of documents you search and the search strings (i.e. the search terms) you have used. This will ensure that your search is transparent and replicable. 

It is recommended that you record your search results including the databases you have searched, the date of the search and the number of results in a spreadsheet or word document. 

Use the Prisma Flow diagram to report your search results in your review.  You will need to:

  • Record the total number of search results from individual databases and additional sources.
  • Record the number of search results remaining after you have removed duplicates.
  • Provide number of records which were excluded from your systematic review and the reasons for this, for example incorrect study design, incorrect setting.



Additional Resources

Managing your Search Results

When undertaking a systematic review, it is advisable to use reference management software as a productivity tool to help manage the software process (Higgins et al., 2018: 97) . Make sure the software you use includes a plugin for your word processing software. Mendeley and Zotero are freely available open source software which are widely used and contain Windows and Mac plugins. JabRef is widely used with text-based typesetting software such as LaTeX. At BCU, the University has an institutional licence to EndNote. IT staff offer 'Getting to Know EndNote Web' workshops to help you set up and use EndNote effectively - both the desktop and the web versions.   


Many databases have account features.  Setting up accounts will allow you to save your search strategy and results.  Setting up accounts on each database you will be searching allows you to save results, as well as easily re-running the search at a later date. 


Databases for your subject

We've created subject guides which list recommended databases for your subject.

Subject Guides

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