Revisiting the need for a literature search narrative: A brief methodological note

Res Synth Methods. 2018 Sep;9(3):361-365. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1315. Epub 2018 Aug 30.


In this method note, we question if the primary search strategy in a systematic review should be accompanied by a search narrative. A search narrative could offer a conceptual and contextual report on the search strategy, which we suggest might benefit the peer review of literature searches and increase engagement with, and discussion of, the literature search strategy from review stakeholders, topic experts, and lay users of research. Search narratives would also increase the transparency of decision-making in literature searching.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Decision Making
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Narration*
  • Peer Review
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Review Literature as Topic*