Searching: Recording & Reporting

When it comes to reporting your searches in Cochrane systematic reviews, the following resources are useful.


MECIR (Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews) outlines mandatory and desirable criteria for reporting searches in systematic reviews.

Cochrane style manual

The Cochrane Style Manual outlines the style in which to report information such as database names.


PRISMA-S (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses literature searching extension) includes a checklist of 16 items intended to guide reporting of the search process. The intent of PRISMA-S is to complement the PRISMA Statement and its extensions by providing a checklist that could be used by interdisciplinary authors, editors, and peer reviewers to verify that each component of a search is completely reported and therefore reproducible.

Rethlefsen ML, Kirtley S, Waffenschmidt S, Ayala AP, Moher D, Page MJ, Koffel JB and PRISMA-S Group. PRISMA-S: an extension to the PRISMA statement for reporting literature searches in systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews. 2021 Jan 26;10(1):39

PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA focuses on the reporting of reviews evaluating randomized trials, but can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions.

Reporting search dates in Cochrane reviews

The Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource contains specific guidance on reporting search dates in Cochrane Reviews.

Templates for search methods in protocols/reviews/updates

The below documents draw together best practice examples from the Cochrane Information Specialist community in relation to writing the search methods in Cochrane protocols, reviews, and updates.  We have checked these examples against the MECIR reporting standards for reviews, and against the latest version of the Style Manual. The Copy-edit Support Team have also checked and approved the text.

Last update: Dec 2021