Searching the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

This tutorial will walk you through the basic steps of searching for systematic reviews in Ovid’s Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. To start, click on the Ovid link on the library’s homepage,
Click on EBM Reviews – Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. At this point you may be prompted to log in using your OUHSC credentials.
You should now see the Advanced Search page for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews includes the full text of the regularly updated systematic reviews prepared by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of individuals and institutions committed to preparing, maintaining, and disseminating systematic reviews of the effects of health care. The database includes two types of reviews:
• Cochrane Methodology Reviews, which are full-text systematic reviews of methodological studies
• Protocols, which summarize the background and rationale of reviews currently in the process of being conducted.
For this tutorial, we will use the following clinical question to build our search for systematic reviews:
For premature or low birth weight infants, does skin-to-skin care increase breastfeeding?
Using this question, we can identify keywords to build our search including, premature infants, low birth weight infants, skin-to-skin care, and breastfeeding. Unlike other databases, the Cochrane Database does not utilize controlled subject headings. Thus, when building our search, we will need to use a variety of keywords to account for variances in the literature. For example, in addition to searching for skin-to -skin care, we may also want to search for skin contact and kangaroo care, other common terms used for skin-to-skin care.
Let’s conduct these searches now. First, conduct a search for skin-to-skin care. Next, conduct a search for skin contact. Finally, conduct a search for kangaroo care.
You should now have three searches that appear in your search history. At the moment, none of these three searches are connected to each other in any way. However, we are now going to change that by combining these searches. First, check the box next to each search we’d like to combine. Then click the OR button next to “Combine with:”. The OR command tells the database we want our results to have at least one of the search terms that we have selected. If we changed the option to AND we would tell the database that we want our results to have all three of our selected terms, which would drastically limit our results. Therefore, we’ll select OR.
Our searches are now combined, and we have a results set of over 50 citations that include at least one of our three search terms. At this point, we may want to add an additional term. Our clinical question addresses how skin-to-skin care affects breastfeeding. Let’s add this concept into our search. Enter the term breastfeeding into the search bar and hit Enter.
Once we have completed a search for this term, we will need to add it to our skin-to-skin care results set. Check the box next to our breastfeeding search and also next to the search labeled 1 or 2 or 3 (this is our search that combined our skin-to-skin care search terms). This time, select the AND button next to Combine with:. This designates that our results set must include one of our terms in our skin-to-skin care set and also the term breastfeeding. You should now have a batch of results of over twenty citations.
We could utilize additional terms that address our clinical question to our search or we can further refine our search by utilizing the limits available in the database. The limits that are available in the Cochrane Database appear immediately below the search bar. Limits include: • Withdrawn Records
• Full Systematic Reviews
• Protocols
• New Reviews and • Recently Updated Reviews As stated in the beginning of this tutorial Full Systematic Reviews and Protocols are the two types of reviews available in this database.
Check the box next to the Full Systematic Reviews option to limit our results to full-text systematic reviews of methodological studies. Then click the Search button to apply the limit to the current search displayed. Now we can scroll through the list of results to browse the titles of our results. Within our results, the search terms used are highlighted. Sometimes, a helpful systematic review may or may not have your exact search terms in the title. Let’s look at one of our results more closely. Locate the 2015 review titled Kangaroo mother care to reduce morbidity and mortality in low birthweight infants. First, we’ll examine the abstract. Click the Abstract link located below the citation information to expand the abstract. Again, notice that search terms used are highlighted. Near the end of this abstract, breastfeeding is indicated as a measurement of kangaroo care. Thus, while not apparent by reading solely the title, this review may prove helpful in addressing our clinical question. To read the full review, click the EBM Full Text link located to the right of the citation. You are now looking at the complete systematic review. To the right, you will find a Tools section where you can download the review as a PDF file. You can also access an Outline of the review in order to link to specific sections of the review. For example, scroll the outline to find the section addressing the Effects of the Intervention. In this section, you can click the link for Breastfeeding to quickly review the outcomes for this indicator.
You have now successfully searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Try searching again with your own search topic. Happy searching!

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