Appendix 6

Example of the structure of a search strategy for a Cochrane review (MEDLINE)

Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists
Sets 1-3 are the MeSH terms & 
text 
words [words found in the 
TITLE or 
ABSTRACTi of a record] 
for the population (i.e bicyclists). They are combined using OR
1.    bicycl* or cycling or cyclist*.ab,ti
2.    exp Bicycling/
3.    1 or 2
Population (P)
Sets 4-6 are the MeSH terms & text 
words [words found in the TITLE or 
ABSTRACT of a record] for the 
intervention (i.e helmets). They are 
combined using OR
4.    helmet* .ab,ti
5.    exp Head Protective Devices/
6.    4 or 5
Intervention (I)
Set 7-17  is one of the Cochrane 
filters for MEDLINE (OVID) for 
locating randomised controlled 
trials i.e. study design filter
7.     randomized controlled trial.pt.
8.     controlled clinical trial.pt.
9.     randomized.ab.
10.   placebo.ab.
11.   drug therapy.fs.
12.   randomly.ab.
13.   trial.ab.
14.   groups.ab.
15.   7 or 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 or 14
16.   exp animals/ not humans.sh.
17.   15 not 16
Study design (SD)
Set 18 is the  combination of 
Population, intervention & study design
18.   3 and 6 and 17 Combination of 
P & I & SD