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Developing a search strategy for your systematic review


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This presentation was made to researchers in public health and nutrition at the Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making, a collaboration of WHO, Cochrane Collaboration and Cornell University's Division of Nutritional Sciences.

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Developing a search strategy for your systematic review

  1. 1. Developing your SR search strategy SARAH YOUNG HEALTH SCIENCE AND POLICY LIBRARIAN
  2. 2. Today’s presentation Access to library resources Developing your search strategy Reporting of ongoing unpublished trials Using library services
  3. 3. A guide to library resources
  4. 4. Access to resources: The catalog
  5. 5. Access to full text
  6. 6. Access to full text: Don’t give up!
  7. 7. Developing your search strategy Example: Malnutrition Use both indexing terms and free-text “Malnutrition"[MeSH] OR “malnutrition” OR “undernutrition" OR “under-nutrition” OR “nutritional deficiency” OR “undernourishment”
  8. 8. Why use free-text AND indexing terms? Indexing quality varies by database Some articles have not yet been indexed No abstract included Non-English material
  9. 9. Standardized Index Terms
  10. 10. Standardized Index Terms HIV "human immuno-deficiency virus" n=199 "HIV"[Mesh] n=80480
  11. 11. Combine standardized terms with natural language HIV "human immuno-deficiency virus" n=199 "HIV"[Mesh] n=80480 "HIV"[Mesh] OR "human immuno-deficiency virus" n=80640 We added 160 articles by including the free-text term in the MeSH term search
  12. 12. Search strategy with harvested terms HIV Infections[MeSH] OR HIV[MeSH] OR hiv[tw] OR hiv-1[tw] OR hiv-2[tw] OR human immunodeficiency virus[tw] OR human immunedeficiency virus[tw] OR human immuno-deficiency virus[tw] OR human immune-deficiency virus[tw] n= 315017
  13. 13. Term harvesting Synonyms in standard index entries Titles and abstracts of key articles Dictionaries and Thesauri
  14. 14. Example: preterm infant
  15. 15. Putting together a search strategy High sensitivity (low precision) Minimize bias Reproducible (documentation)
  16. 16. Putting together a search strategy Example: Micronutrient supplementation in pregnant women with HIV infection The Cochrane Collaboration Siegfried N, Irlam JH, Visser ME, and Rollins NN 2012
  17. 17. Putting together a search strategy Objective: To assess whether micronutrient supplements are effective and safe in reducing mortality and morbidity in pregnant women with HIV infection.
  18. 18. HIV
  19. 19. Type of study: RCT
  20. 20. Micronutrients
  21. 21. Micronutrients (cont.)
  22. 22. Micronutrients (combined)
  23. 23. Final (combined)
  24. 24. Type of study: RCT
  25. 25. Search tips: Use the syntax appropriate to the database
  26. 26. Search tips: Use the syntax appropriate to the database
  27. 27. Identify text terms Term harvest for synonyms Control for spelling variation and use truncation Identify indexing terms Decide to explode or focus indexing terms Combine all search terms logically Customize syntax for other databases Perform test searches Perform test searches
  28. 28. Choosing databases
  29. 29. Choosing databases Searched for reports of maternal mortality and morbidity across various study designs MEDLINE, Popline, EMBASE, CINAHL, CAB Abstracts, Econlit, Sociofile, LILACS, BIOSIS and PAIS International 2580 citations included
  30. 30. Choosing databases 62 44 17 12 0 20 40 60 80 100 MEDLINE EMBASE BIOSIS POPLINE Percent of Total Citations Identified
  31. 31. A guide to library resources
  32. 32. Outside of the published literature Publication bias
  33. 33. Other sources: Unpublished clinical trials WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT)
  34. 34. Other sources: Grey Literature “…literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles.” Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
  35. 35. Other sources: Grey Literature "That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers.“ The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature, Washington, DC
  36. 36. A guide to library resources
  37. 37. Finding Mann Library
  38. 38. Room to work
  39. 39. Available library services Access to full text Search strategy development Using the databases Citation management Questions about Research4Life
  40. 40. Help with your research Office hours: 2-4 pm (except tomorrow) Services and Collections offices, 1st floor of Mann
  41. 41. References Betran, A.P. et al. (2005). “Effectiveness of different databases in identifying studies for systematic reviews: experience from the WHO systematic review of maternal morbidity and mortality”. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 5:6. Fowler, S. (2013). “Library Resources for Systematic Reviews”. Presentation available from Higgins, J.P.T. and Green, S. (eds.) (2011). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, Version 5.1.0, available from Siegfried, N. et al. (2012). “Micronutrient supplementation in pregnant women with HIV infection (Review)”. The Cochrane Library, Issue 3.