Literature Search Strategy Log

Literature Search Strategy Log

This search log is provided as a tool to assist you in tracking how you are conducting your literature review. The tool will assist you in recording key words you are using, databases you are accessing etc. The tool should be used continuously as you search the literature.


Please note, your review of the literature will be an ongoing process, therefore we do not expect this to be an all-inclusive log, but a representation of the searches you have completed to date.  In addition, this tool/log will assist you in writing the “Methods” section of your final literature review (see guidelines for the Integrative Review of the Literature Assignment–section II). Literature Search Strategy Log.


As you conduct your literature review below are a few points to consider:

  • Are you using key words that are relevant, appropriate and comprehensive that relate to the clinical question/problem? Are the combinations of words appropriate?
  • Are you using a variety of databases? Are you using manual and electronic methods? Are the search limits justified? Literature Search Strategy Log.
  • Are you seeing redundancies in databases? How many studies were relevant to your problem and intervention? Are you finding higher levels of evidence (ex. Systematic reviews)? Do not eliminate studies where the full text article is not available. Request a copy of the article from the library. You will be missing out on a great finding otherwise!!
  • What rational or reasons are you using to include, eliminate, or narrow your selection?
  • Does your literature search encompass all aspects of your PICO? Literature Search Strategy Log



PICO question:  For healthcare providers in the Emergency Department, does a standardized handoff communication tool improve patient admission and efficiency to the appropriate inpatient nursing unit? Literature Search Strategy Log



Database Key Word


Limits # of Citations

Found / Kept

Rationale for  Inclusion / Exclusion
 CINAHL (EBSCOhost) Emergency department AND delays AND admissions 5-10 year period 25 found 3 kept 1 redundant; kept articles directly related to clinical question Literature Search Strategy Log




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