Systematic Approaches to Searching for Evidence

Tuesday 11th March 2025, 9am - 1pm (GMT)
Tuesday 25th March 2025, 9am - 1pm (GMT)


Bookings aren't open yet but please register your interest here and we will be in touch when they are.

About the course

This interactive online course will cover the key principles of searching for published and unpublished evidence in a systematic, transparent way. 

We will look at turning a research idea into a viable, structured search question; scoping the literature; choosing sources; developing effective strategies and documenting your searches so they can be reproduced.  

The course will draw on SCHARR’s decades of experience at the forefront of evidence synthesis, in addition to highlighting the latest available search tools and emerging techniques from the relevant methodological literature.

Feedback from previous attendees

"The presenters are so knowledgeable and present in such an engaging way, I've learnt such a lot to inform my searching practice."

"It was directly useful to my job, and has given me loads of ideas about how I can improve."

"The speakers were really clear and the delivery was just right, not too formal, not too rehearsed but still really well structured."

"Probably one of the best CPD courses I've done. Will be recommending to colleagues."

"A great example of how to do an online course well."

Course programme

Course materials include an exclusive pre-recorded video lecture by Professor Andrew Booth, lead author of Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review, 3rd edition (Sage, 2021).

Day 1

  • The role of the literature search in the evidence review process
  • Scoping the literature and choosing sources
  • Matching your search approach to the particular review method
  • Turning a research question into a search strategy

Delegates will be given a search task to complete in their own time, between days 1 and 2 (please allow approximately 1 hour for this).

Day 2

  • Common pitfalls of searching (including feedback on search task)
  • Reporting searches
  • Beyond the “big bang” search - complementary and iterative methods, and when to use them
  • Emerging techniques
  • Knowing when to stop

Who will benefit from the course?

Anyone with an interest in conducting or supporting systematic reviews or similar evidence synthesis projects, especially:

  • Postgraduate students
  • Early career researchers
  • Librarians and Information Specialists

We will draw on examples not just from health but also from evidence synthesis in the social sciences and public policy.

Course faculty

SCHARR Information Science Research

Mark Clowes (Course lead)

Emily Pulsford

Anthea Sutton

Angie Rees

Dates and times

Tuesday 11th March 2025, 9am - 1pm (GMT)
Tuesday 25th March 2025, 9am - 1pm (GMT)


The fee for this course is £199 per person.

Current members of University of Sheffield staff and students with an active email address are eligible to book onto this course at the reduced rate of £179. 

Booking and payment

Payment can be made via credit / debit card or PayPal. Please visit the Online Store to make your booking.  

Non-University of Sheffield applicants - If your employer is paying your fees and they require an invoice, please ensure you have your purchase order details before making your booking. 

Current University of Sheffield staff and students – If you would prefer to be invoiced or to pay via an internal transfer, a purchase order will be required before you make your booking.  Please contact your department administrator or finance team for help with this.

Difficulties making your booking?

If you are having difficulties making your booking, please contact the Online Store directly at

Course delivery and requirements

This course will be delivered using the University's 'Blackboard' platform.

NHS staff - important note: We are aware of issues caused by NHS firewalls.  We recommend registering with an alternative/non-NHS email and using a non-NHS device when attending the course if possible. Thank you *


  • Reliable and stable internet connection.
  • A PC or laptop
  • Webcam and microphone (preferably a USB headset)
  • Mouse 
  • A quiet room where there will be no/minimal disruption.
  • Ability to access Google applications (e.g. Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Sheets).

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us:

Email at

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