This guide is derived from the information in chapter 6 of The Cochrane Handbook (1, 2). Carol Lefebvre, Eric Manheimer and Julie Glanville kindly gave permission to the original Campbell Collaboration (Campbell) Information Retrieval Guide authors to use the chapter and chapter updates as the basis for this guide. In 2015 the Campbell Information Retrieval Methods Group (IRMG) revised this guide to reflect current Campbell Collaboration areas of practice and recommendations in the Methodological Expectations of Campbell Collaboration Intervention Reviews (MEC2IR), capture evolving practice and strategies for searching, and update links and descriptions of individual bibliographic and other resources.
This guide presents key considerations on the information retrieval process and provides examples of strategies and resources for review authors and Trial Search coordinators (TSC) to reference in the planning and conduct of Campbell Systematic Reviews. The guide provides anoverview of information retrieval principles (Ch.2); covers sources of literature including specific subject databases and bibliographic indexes (Ch. 3); describes steps for planning and executing searches (Ch.4 and 5); reviews tools for managing retrievals (Ch. 6); introduces the role of text mining (Ch. 7); and outlines key elements of the search process and search strategies for documentation (Ch.8). The Guide Appendices include subject specific databases and other sources of literature (Appendix I), grey literature sources (Appendix II), a search strategy template (Appendix III), a checklist for information retrieval activity (Appendix IV), and the literature search‐specific items from the MEC2IR document (Appendix V) and list of abbreviations used in the guide (Appendix VI).
This guide provides high‐level, overview information on information retrieval principles and is not a substitute for the Help sections of individual databases. Individuals who wish to search particular sources should familiarize themselves with the resource before beginning a search.