The review question or PICOST components are used to guide the location of relevant studies, which usually involves bibliographic database searches and other methods. The scope of the database and the review should be considered in order to select the most relevant databases for the review; searching more than one database is highly recommended in order to overcome potential indexing biases.

Consulting a librarian with experience in developing search strategies helps ensure that the search strategies are comprehensive. Feedback from a second librarian using the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies (PRESS) checklist might increase the likelihood that the literature search is valid and reliable, which is particularly helpful for groups updating existing reviews.