Appendix 7

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

Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists

Sets 1-3 are the MeSH terms & text 
words [words found in the TITLE or 
ABSTRACT of a record
] for the population 
(i.e bicyclists). They are combined using OR

1.  bicycl* or cycling or cyclist* :ab,ti
2.  [mh 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.  [mh “Head Protective Devices”]

6.  #4 or #5

Intervention (I)

Set 18 is the combination of Population, 
intervention
. No study design is required as 
CENTRAL contains RCTS & CCTS

7.  #3 and #6

Combination of 
P & I