Gå till huvudinnehållet


How can you document your searches?

It is a good idea to keep a "search log" to save and document your searches. Your search log can be chart or a running text of which databases and search terms you have used. This saves you the extra work of trying to recreate the same searches as you used last time. It can also help you spot patterns in your searchers and what you can do to improve them.

If you're writing a literature review, you need to include your search strategies in your methods section or as an appendix. You must document your searches as clearly and in such detail that someone else will be able to reproduce your searches. Your documentation should include:

  • the name of the database and database provider
  • the date of the search
  • what search terms you have used 
  • how you have combined your search terms (e.g. with AND and OR)
  • what search filters (e.g. time span, language) you have used

How do you save your searches?

In most databases that you can access through the library, you can create an account to save your searches for free. You can access your account as long as you can access the database.In PubMed, click "Log in" in the upper right corner and scroll down to "Sign in" to create an account.Save your search by clicking "Create alert" under the search bar. Name your search and choose if you want email updates of new results. Click "Save". You can now find your search under "Dashboard" by clicking your user name.


If you don't want to create an account you can sometimes download your search history as a document to your computer. You can also copy your search history and paste it into a word document or email relevant articles to yourself or your writing partner.