A systematic literature search was undertaken and an annotated bibliography compiled on the effectiveness of alliances for health promotion. Nineteen databases were systematically searched according to a pre-specified search strategy using parts 1 and 2 of the Cochrane Search Strategy for controlled studies which generated 185 discrete references. Of the 110 published empirical studies that were identified, 19 involved macro-alliances and 91 micro-alliances. Studies involved lifestyle behav iours (n=47), reproductive health and parenting (n=20) or focused on disease ( n=34). The methods used for the literature search and their considerations are presented in this paper along with a preliminary description of the studies retrieved. The method ological issues are discussed along with their implications and suggestions for further research and health policy.