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Table 1 Three stages within systematic searches and challenges for website searches

From: Exploring issues in the conduct of website searching and other online sources for systematic reviews: how can we be systematic?

Stage Objective Challenges in undertaking this step for websites and online resources
Planning the search • To have a rationale for searching methods, based on the purpose of the search
• Planning where to search, who is undertaking the search and the timeframe of the review
• Discovery of suitable websites to use
• Deciding how representative the range of websites need to be in relation to the scope of the review and time available to search
Executing the search • To utilise each resource in a consistent way, and in a way that is appropriate for each individual resource • Planning how to search when each source is structured differently and may differ in terms of focus and content
• Using individual approaches for each website
• Searching resources where the functionality for searches consisting of multiple words and Boolean searching is often limited
Screening and information management • To assess literature for relevance (screening or sifting)
• To quantify how many items of literature is processed
• To report on methods
• Which literature to collect and how much screening to carry out
• Limited functionality to transfer results to citation management tools
• The level of detail needed for recordkeeping for preliminary screening at source