Article

Systematic reviews need systematic searches

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.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Jessie Mcgowan, Aug 12, 2015
0 Followers
  • Source
    • "Successful search strategy design involves knowledge of databases, indexing and database structures. Hence, successful search strategies typically involve experienced information specialists (McGowan and Sampson, 2005). Many academic libraries (such as those affiliated with veterinary colleges) have librarians with specialized training in systematic review search strategies. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article is the fourth of six articles addressing systematic reviews in animal agriculture and veterinary medicine. Previous articles in the series have introduced systematic reviews, discussed study designs and hierarchies of evidence, and provided details on conducting randomized controlled trials, a common design for use in systematic reviews. This article describes development of a review protocol and the first two steps in a systematic review: formulating a review question, and searching the literature for relevant research. The emphasis is on systematic reviews of questions related to interventions. The review protocol is developed prior to conducting the review and specifies the plan for the conduct of the review, identifies the roles and responsibilities of the review team and provides structured definitions related to the review question. For intervention questions, the review question should be defined by the PICO components: population, intervention, comparison and outcome(s). The literature search is designed to identify all potentially relevant original research that may address the question. Search terms related to some or all of the PICO components are entered into literature databases, and searches for unpublished literature also are conducted. All steps of the literature search are documented to provide transparent reporting of the process.
    Zoonoses and Public Health 06/2014; 61 Suppl S1:28-38. DOI:10.1111/zph.12125 · 2.07 Impact Factor
    • "You should include information such as exploding or focusing search terms, and the use of Boolean operators e.g. OR, AND and indicate whether the terms used were truncated and if various ways of spelling the terms, plurals and synonyms were included (Gillespie and Gillespie, 2003, Timmins and McCabe, 2005, Brain, 2010, McGowan and Sampson, 2005). 6. Document the search process for each search engine including search engine, terms and number retrieved on a search results table. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: AIM: This paper describes a structured approach for documenting a search strategy, prior to the scholarly critique and review of the retrieved literature. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT: There has been a shift in publication expectations when it comes to the presentation of a literature review, from the more traditional narrative review to a more systematic approach, following a specific framework. METHODS: This paper presents a 12 step framework for documenting the search strategy prior to undertaking a critique and synthesis of the retrieved literature. The authors provide a worked example about potential sources of cross contamination including hospital bath basins and soap and water bathing. DISCUSSION: An overview of the 12 step framework is presented. This includes step-by-step instructions on how to conduct and write a search strategy for a literature review. A number of resources available for creating reviews and critiquing reviews are referenced, but these are not exclusive. CONCLUSION: Reviews can be an important and valuable contribution when undertaken well, providing the reader with evidence of a clear structure. This paper provides a 12 step framework that will be of benefit to students, educationalists, and researchers required to embark on a review.
    Nurse education today 05/2012; 32(8). DOI:10.1016/j.nedt.2012.02.022 · 1.46 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Some hierarchies of evidence suggest that high-quality systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard of evidencebased medicine since they attempt to synthesize research using a rigorous methodology to limit bias [5] [6]. Part of this methodology includes identifying a comprehensive evidence base of controlled clinical trials (CCTs— including randomized controlled trials) through a highly sensitive search of the literature [7]. Such broad searches have resource implications for the conduct of systematic reviews, so knowledge of various bibliographic databases' (db) productivity, overlap and features is important. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This project aims to assess the utility of bibliographic databases beyond the three major ones (MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane CENTRAL) for finding controlled trials of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Fifteen databases were searched to identify controlled clinical trials (CCTs) of CAM not also indexed in MEDLINE. Searches were conducted in May 2006 using the revised Cochrane highly sensitive search strategy (HSSS) and the PubMed CAM Subset. Yield of CAM trials per 100 records was determined, and databases were compared over a standardized period (2005). The Acudoc2 RCT, Acubriefs, Index to Chiropractic Literature (ICL) and Hom-Inform databases had the highest concentrations of non-MEDLINE records, with more than 100 non-MEDLINE records per 500. Other productive databases had ratios between 500 and 1500 records to 100 non-MEDLINE records-these were AMED, MANTIS, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Global Health and Alt HealthWatch. Five databases were found to be unproductive: AGRICOLA, CAIRSS, Datadiwan, Herb Research Foundation and IBIDS. Acudoc2 RCT yielded 100 CAM trials in the most recent 100 records screened. Acubriefs, AMED, Hom-Inform, MANTIS, PsycINFO and CINAHL had more than 25 CAM trials per 100 records screened. Global Health, ICL and Alt HealthWatch were below 25 in yield. There were 255 non-MEDLINE trials from eight databases in 2005, with only 10% indexed in more than one database. Yield varied greatly between databases; the most productive databases from both sampling methods were Acubriefs, Acudoc2 RCT, AMED and CINAHL. Low overlap between databases indicates comprehensive CAM literature searches will require multiple databases.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 06/2009; 2011:858246. DOI:10.1093/ecam/nep038 · 1.88 Impact Factor
Show more