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 (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.

Resources for peer review of search strategies

These resources were made available by Robin Featherstone, Information Specialist, Editorial & Methods Department. They were developed from the following article:

MacGowan J, Sampson M., Salzwedel DM, Cogo E, Foerster V, Lefebvre C. PRESS Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies: 2015 Guideline Statement, J Clin Epidemiol., 2016 Mar 18. pii: S0895-4356(16)00058-5.

The Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team hosted a webinar on peer review of search strategies on 7 February 2019:

The Cochrane Muscloskeletal, Oral, Skin and Sensory (MOSS) Network have been conducting a pilot peer review project during 2018. A report on the pilot is available to download.