Systematic reviews need systematic searchers.

Ottawa Health Research Institute/Institute of Population Health University of Ottawa Ottawa K1N 6N5 Canada.
Journal of the Medical Library Association JMLA (Impact Factor: 0.99). 02/2005; 93(1):74-80.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper will provide a description of the methods, skills, and knowledge of expert searchers working on systematic review teams.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are very important to health care practitioners, who need to keep abreast of the medical literature and make informed decisions. Searching is a critical part of conducting these systematic reviews, as errors made in the search process potentially result in a biased or otherwise incomplete evidence base for the review. Searches for systematic reviews need to be constructed to maximize recall and deal effectively with a number of potentially biasing factors. Librarians who conduct the searches for systematic reviews must be experts.
Expert searchers need to understand the specifics about data structure and functions of bibliographic and specialized databases, as well as the technical and methodological issues of searching. Search methodology must be based on research about retrieval practices, and it is vital that expert searchers keep informed about, advocate for, and, moreover, conduct research in information retrieval. Expert searchers are an important part of the systematic review team, crucial throughout the review process-from the development of the proposal and research question to publication.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The demand for systematic review support in academic health sciences libraries is increasing. To manage the demand, the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta has created an action plan consisting of eight strategies. The results of implementing these strategies have been varied. Some have shown immediate results, while others are long term strategies.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is the most significant source of HIV infection in young children. As the HI virus has been identified in cell-free and cell-associated compartments of breast milk, it is clear that breast milk is one of the ways in which motherto-child transmission of HIV can take place in addition to in utero and intrapartum transmission. While breastfeeding carries the risk of HIV transmission, not breastfeeding carries significant health risks for infants and young children, such as an increased risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia, morbidity and mortality. When an HIV-positive mother decides to breastfeed her baby, pasteurisation of expressed breast milk (EBM) could be a possible infant-feeding option to limit transmission of the HI virus through breast milk, since this method has shown to effectively inactivate HIV type 1. Three methods of pasteurisation of human milk were investigated in this study: Holder pasteurisation, flash-heating and Pretoria pasteurisation. The systematic review is a helpful method to summarise the best-quality empirical evidence of the benefits and limitations of a specific method, such as heat treatment, and to provide recommendations for future research. Therefore, the aim of this study was to critically synthesise by means of a systematic review the best available existing evidence and to provide a clear overview of the effectiveness of heat treatment of EBM as an in-home procedure to inactivate the HI virus, and in so doing limit mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This study provides the clinical practitioner with accessible information on the effectiveness of heat treatment of EBM as an in-home procedure in terms of (1) safety, inactivation of the HI virus and retaining the protective and nutritional value of the EBM; (2) feasibility as an inhome procedure; and (3) acceptability by the mothers and their communities. This information could be used to improve clinical practitioners‟ knowledge and include it in their health education to contribute to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. This study is based on the framework of the model for evidence-based clinical decisions of Haynes, Devereaux and Guyatt (2002). iv The search strategy was conducted in March/April 2009. The initial search resulted in 574 articles. After thorough screening of potentially relevant studies on heat treatment of EBM, the studies that met the inclusion criteria were critically appraised and scored based on their methodological qualities using standardised instruments. After 6 months, the search was updated. The search obtained 1 article. The final sample involved 12 articles. Conclusions were integrated and synthesised as a basis for developing a clear overview of the best available existing evidence. Finally, the findings of the study were synthesised and the research was evaluated, a conclusion was given, limitations were identified and recommendations were formulated for nursing practice, education and research. The bottom-line answer concluded that heat treatment of EBM should be emphasised as a safe alternative for feeding exposed infants (those of an HIV-positive mother, those of uncertain HIV status or during weaning if the mother cannot afford formula or cow‟s milk), but should be supported with appropriate information to the individual mother, her family and the community. Overall it can be concluded that existing evidence of the effectiveness (in terms of safety, feasibility and acceptability) of heat treatment of EBM, particularly Pretoria pasteurisation, used as a simple in-home procedure, is insufficient, and further research is required. Keywords: heat treatment, expressed breast milk, in-home procedure, HIV-positive mothers, mother-to-child transmission, systematic review
    11/2009, Degree: Master, Supervisor: Prof S.J.C. van der Walt Dr C.S. Minnie
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Systematic reviews are fundamental sources of knowledge on the state-of-the-art interventions for various clinical problems. One of the essential components in carrying out a systematic review is that of developing a comprehensive literature search. Three Cochrane systematic reviews published in 2012 were retrieved using the MeSH descriptor breast neoplasms/surgery, and analyzed with respect to the information sources used and the search strategies adopted. In March 2014, an update of one of the reviews retrieved was also considered in the study. The number of databases queried for each review ranged between three and seven. All the reviews reported the search strategies adopted, however some only partially. All the reviews explicitly claimed that the searches applied no language restriction although sources such as the free database Lilacs (in Spanish and Portuguese) was not consulted. To improve the quality it is necessary to apply standards in carrying out systematic reviews (as laid down in the MECIR project). To meet these standards concerning literature searching, professional information retrieval specialist staff should be involved. The peer review committee in charge of evaluating the publication of a systematic review should also include specialists in information retrieval for assessing the quality of the literature search.
    Annali dell'Istituto superiore di sanita 03/2015; 51(1):34-9. DOI:10.4415/ANN_15_01_07 · 0.77 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 20, 2014