Cochrane Library Tutorial
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Searching The Databases

Finding Information in the Cochrane Library


Getting Started

The opening screen displays a single search window at the top left where you can enter your search term(s).

Search Phrase dialogue entry box

Here the different databases are listed, together with the total number of records in each database.

Cochrane library databases initial listings

Searches in the Cochrane Library are performed across all the databases, so for example, searching on asthma will retrieve records from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) plus any other database which contains records with the word asthma.

The total number of times a word or phrase occurs in the Library will appear in red. The number of records or ‘hits’ retrieved in each database by that word or phrase is displayed alongside.

Cochrane library databases listings on asthma

The first three resources in the Cochrane Library are arranged in a hierarchy of evidence. Once you’ve done a search, look first to see whether there is a Cochrane review on your topic in CDSR, then check DARE for any other systematic reviews. If you still can’t find a review CENTRAL may have some trials.

To display the records, start by clicking the relevant database. For example, to view the Cochrane reviews, click on the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, then Complete reviews. The first 25 reviews will appear. Click on the review you want or click the Next> button to view the next 25 reviews.

Cochrane library databases listings on asthma

The Cochrane Library also supports phrase searching. So for example, a search on "low back pain" retrieves any records that contain these three words as a phrase (i.e. appearing next to each other).

Search Phrase low-back-pain


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