Searching: Designing

There are lots of resources available to help you when designing searches.

Identifying trials

Please see a list of resources to use for identifying trials.


CENTRAL creation details - CENTRAL is comprised of records retrieved from PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase,, WHO ICTRP, all Review Groups' Specialized Registers and records identified by handsearching various biomedical sources. This page on the Cochrane Library describes the process.

Search filters

For both Cochrane and non-Cochrane search filters for different databases, see search filters.

Methods groups

Cochrane handbook

The Cochrane Handbook (Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions: Chapter 4) provides guidance to authors for the preparation of Cochrane intervention systematic reviews including Cochrane Overviews of reviews.

CIS handbook

The CIS Handbook contains links throughout to resources to help design searches, including specialised registers, the Cochrane Register of Studies and handsearching.


Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews detail the agreed standards for the conduct and reporting of Cochrane Reviews of interventions. 

Last update: Dec 2021