Center for Global Research Data

How to Search for Studies

Searching for Studies

  • The Vivli platform allows users to search through listed studies using four search methods, including a PICO Search, Keyword Search, Advanced Search and Quick Study Look-up.
  • Users can combine these tools to find those studies most relevant to their research question.
  • This guide shows how to use all four methods to find studies to request on Vivli:
    1. PICO Search
    2. Keyword Search
    3. Advanced Search
    4. Quick Study Look up

How to Search:

Users can search for studies using the Vivli platform, accessed at

Users do not need to be a registered user to search for studies, though they will need an account to complete a data request. Once users enter the Vivli platform, they should see the search window:

Figure 1 – Search Window (home)

Users can choose their preferred search method: PICO Search, Keyword Search, or Quick Study Look-up.

PICO Search:

  • As users enter their search terms into the search bar, an autocomplete dropdown with suggestions will appear.
  • Users can use these suggestions to better target their search to the terms used to drive the search engine.
  • Search through the studies using PICO terms: Population, Intervention, Comparison or Outcome.

As users enter a term into the search field, they can categorize it using the multicolored PICO toolbar. Click the term which will open the toolbar and please select either P, I, C or O to categorize the term:

Figure 2 – PICO toolbar (excerpt)
  • For example, if a user enters “Asthma,” they may categorize it as a “P” for Population, meaning that they want to search for studies where the population of the study consisted of persons with Asthma.
  • When they do so, a color-coded decision tree will appear where they may further refine the term, if so desired. The user may also move up the decision tree to a more general term:

Figure 3 – PICO Screen, Population Decision Tree

As the user adds the desired terms to the search bar and categorizes it according to the appropriate PICO element, this will update the number of “studies” located at the bottom of the page:

Figure 4 – Completed PICO toolbar

After the user has added all the desired terms to the search bar, they can view the results of their search by either by clicking on the magnifying glass icon, by clicking the number of studies at the bottom of the screen or by simply pressing enter:

Figure 5 – Search Results

Keyword Search:

  • Users can also search listed studies by Keyword, using the Keyword Search function.
  • To do so, go to the Keyword Search
  • Enter the keyword(s) as shown:

Figure 6 -Keyword Search

Advanced Search:

Use Advanced Search for a more precise search, by filling out the various advanced search fields:

Figure 7 – Advanced Search Fields

Quick Study Look-Up:

  • The Quick Study Look-Up lets users search for single studies, by NCT ID number or Sponsor Protocol ID and Sponsor name.
  • Enter the NCT ID number in the format NCTxxxxxxxx, with no spaces.
  • Only studies listed by Vivli Members will be available in the Quick Study Look-up. For more information, please visit our Vivli Member pages.
Figure 8 – Quick Study Lookup / NCTID

Once users find a study that fits their search criteria, they may learn more about the study by clicking on View Study Details:

Figure 9 – View Study Details

Doing so will open a new window or tab, where they can read about the study in more depth, to help them determine if they would like to request the data package for the study:

Figure 10 – Study Details Window