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Supporting authors of
systematic reviews.
Margaret Anderson
Trials Search Co-ordinator m.anderson@qub.ac.uk
Cochrane Devel...
Systematic reviews in the social sciences
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
1
0
1 8
61
214
614
IBSS records
with "systematic r...
Systematic review
“A review of a clearly formulated question that uses
systematic and explicit methods to identify, select...
Cochrane worldwide
• More than 22,400 active Cochrane authors worldwide
attached to one or more
• 53 Review Groups
• Publi...
Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial
and Learning Problems Group
• Funded by HSC Northern Ireland
• Based at Queen’s Unive...
Review Life cycle (18 months to 2 years)
Title registered
and accepted by
Cochrane group
Write the
protocol
Feedback and
e...
Overview of review process: TSC input
• Review Proposal stage ( Title Registration)
• Protocol stage
• First draft – liais...
Overview of review process: TSC input
• Top-up searches
“Rerun or update searches for all relevant databases
within 12 mon...
Title registration
• Editorial discussion
• Check The Cochrane Library for similar
protocols or reviews
• Author team
• Wh...
Guidance and standards
• MECIR Project http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir
• Methodological standards for the conduct...
Protocol development
“Searches for studies should be as extensive as possible…” *
• Comprehensive list of sources (CDPLPG ...
Protocol: developing a search strategy
• Work from the protocol (not just the title)
• Is the intervention clear?
• What i...
Protocol: developing a search strategy
• Engaging with the authors
• Try to provide encouraging feedback
• Ask them to sug...
Features of the core search strategy
• published as part of the Protocol
• structured using main review concepts
• populat...
Developing the core strategy
• Choose core database
• Sort out the structure
(Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3)
• Fin...
Preparing to run the searches
• Agree who is doing what and record the decision
• Discuss reference manager software
• Agr...
Preparing to run the searches
• Customise the core strategy for other databases
• Check appropriate syntax and controlled
...
Managing expectations: new CDPLPG reviews 2010-
2012
Maximum= 31879
Minimum =27
Number of reviews= 40
Documenting the searches
• Record enough detail so search can be
replicated*
• Database name, provider and dates of
covera...
Managing the records
• Downloading records
• Label downloaded records with database, search
date and number of records)
• ...
Reporting the searches
• Abstract (word limited)
• Search date
• the earliest date of the most recent set of searches
• mu...
Reporting the searches
• Search methods
• List all sources
• Include provider/dates of coverage
• Issue/version number (e....
PRISMA study flow diagram
Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, et al. (2009) The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Sy...
Reporting the searches
• Study flow diagram (PRISMA)
• Ensure numbers add up
• Do numbers of records and studies tally?
• ...
Updates
• Generally expect to update every 2 years
• Monitor downloads
• Monitor citations (journals, policy documents cli...
Information specialist input
• Awareness of sources
• Advise on coverage
• Access
• Limitations
• Searching expertise
• Ex...
Other systematic reviews are available…
• Journals
• Not-for-profit
organisations
• Commercial
organisations
• Research
ca...
Searching systematically: supporting authors of Cochrane reviews.
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Searching systematically: supporting authors of Cochrane reviews.

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Margaret Anderson, Trials Search Coordinator

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Searching systematically: supporting authors of Cochrane reviews.

  1. 1. Supporting authors of systematic reviews. Margaret Anderson Trials Search Co-ordinator m.anderson@qub.ac.uk Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group Queen’s University Belfast
  2. 2. Systematic reviews in the social sciences 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 1 0 1 8 61 214 614 IBSS records with "systematic review" in title or abstract. No of IBSS records
  3. 3. Systematic review “A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies.” Cochrane community website http://community.cochrane.org/glossary/5#letters accessed 28 January 2015
  4. 4. Cochrane worldwide • More than 22,400 active Cochrane authors worldwide attached to one or more • 53 Review Groups • Publish protocols and reviews in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (> 8,500) • Well defined subject scope • Editorial base • Typically a Co-editor, Managing Editor, Trials Search Co- ordinator • Editorial board • Subject , methods and statistical expertise • External peer reviewers
  5. 5. Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group • Funded by HSC Northern Ireland • Based at Queen’s University Belfast (since 2010) • Editorial base • Co-editor • Managing Editor • Assistant Managing Editor • Trials Search Co-ordinator • 992 authors • 174 reviews • 32 protocols • 17 registered titles
  6. 6. Review Life cycle (18 months to 2 years) Title registered and accepted by Cochrane group Write the protocol Feedback and editorial approval Publish the protocol in CDSR Run the searches Write the review Feedback and editorial approval Publish the review in CDSR Update the searches Incorporate new data Feedback and editorial approval Publish review update in CDSR
  7. 7. Overview of review process: TSC input • Review Proposal stage ( Title Registration) • Protocol stage • First draft – liaise with authors search strategy • Check subsequent drafts for revisions • Run searches or check review teams progress • Deliver records and summary of search • Review stage – check all search related sections
  8. 8. Overview of review process: TSC input • Top-up searches “Rerun or update searches for all relevant databases within 12 months before publication of the review or review update, and screen the results for potentially eligible studies”* C37 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir
  9. 9. Title registration • Editorial discussion • Check The Cochrane Library for similar protocols or reviews • Author team • Who is developing the strategy and running searches? • Search expertise? • library access? • advice from an information professional?
  10. 10. Guidance and standards • MECIR Project http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir • Methodological standards for the conduct of new Cochrane reviews • Methodological standards for the reporting of new Cochrane intervention reviews • Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0[updated March 2011] • http://handbook.cochrane.org/ • Handbook for DTA Reviews (work in progress) • http://srdta.cochrane.org/handbook-dta-reviews
  11. 11. Protocol development “Searches for studies should be as extensive as possible…” * • Comprehensive list of sources (CDPLPG average is 12) • Include mandatory and highly desirable sources** • Published and unpublished sources • Reference lists and personal contacts yet also need to • Avoid duplication • Ensure list is realistic • Access • Review Team’s capacity * C24 to C31 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir
  12. 12. Protocol: developing a search strategy • Work from the protocol (not just the title) • Is the intervention clear? • What is the population (condition, age group)? • Study types? • RE-read the protocol! • It might change after editorial feedback
  13. 13. Protocol: developing a search strategy • Engaging with the authors • Try to provide encouraging feedback • Ask them to suggest search terms (older terms, regional terms) • Check understanding (mine and authors) • Seek clarification from authors • Test drive the strategy • Use references from other reviews • Ask authors for likely eligible studies
  14. 14. Features of the core search strategy • published as part of the Protocol • structured using main review concepts • population AND intervention and RCT filter • Controlled vocabulary • Comprehensive free-text terms • Balance sensitivity and precision Item C32 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir Cochrane Handbook Sections 6.4.2; 6.4.4; 6.4.7
  15. 15. Developing the core strategy • Choose core database • Sort out the structure (Concept 1 AND Concept 2 AND Concept 3) • Find controlled thesaurus terms • Begin with the most obvious term and examine broader and narrower terms . • Work backwards from a known study • Look at strategies from other reviews • Test free text words and phrases one at a time • Use a separate search line for each one • What happens if …
  16. 16. Preparing to run the searches • Agree who is doing what and record the decision • Discuss reference manager software • Agree when to start (searches have a “shelf life”)** • Agree who will receive the records and co-ordinate screening C37 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir Cochrane Handbook Sections 6.6.1
  17. 17. Preparing to run the searches • Customise the core strategy for other databases • Check appropriate syntax and controlled vocabulary C33 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir Cochrane Handbook Sections 6.6.1
  18. 18. Managing expectations: new CDPLPG reviews 2010- 2012 Maximum= 31879 Minimum =27 Number of reviews= 40
  19. 19. Documenting the searches • Record enough detail so search can be replicated* • Database name, provider and dates of coverage • Full name and URLs of websites • Save exact search strategy for each source • Collate search strategies as you go *C36 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir Cochrane Handbook Sections 6.6.1
  20. 20. Managing the records • Downloading records • Label downloaded records with database, search date and number of records) • Importing into reference manager • Global edit to add database name • Make separate RIS files for each source • Keep a master copy of all records! • Deduplication • Keep deduplication settings conservative • Move duplicates to a separate file • Advise authors to expect more duplicates
  21. 21. Reporting the searches • Abstract (word limited) • Search date • the earliest date of the most recent set of searches • must be within 12 months (and preferably 6 months) of the publication date • List of databases • Indicative -name the main ones then “and 5 others”) R6 Methodological Standards for the reporting of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir
  22. 22. Reporting the searches • Search methods • List all sources • Include provider/dates of coverage • Issue/version number (e.g. CENTRAL 2014 Issue 12) • Full name and URL of websites • Latest searches • Date of latest searches R34 R35 Methodological Standards for the Conduct of Cochrane Intervention Reviews http://editorial-unit.cochrane.org/mecir
  23. 23. PRISMA study flow diagram Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, et al. (2009) The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration. PLoS Med 6(7): e1000100. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100 http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100
  24. 24. Reporting the searches • Study flow diagram (PRISMA) • Ensure numbers add up • Do numbers of records and studies tally? • Check numbers of included and excluded studies • Check studies used in any meta-analysis • Appendix with search strategies • One for each source
  25. 25. Updates • Generally expect to update every 2 years • Monitor downloads • Monitor citations (journals, policy documents clinical guidelines (NICE, WHO) • Be aware of plans to update guidelines • Monitor Altmetrics* • Update process begins with searches • Chance to improve/update search strategy *http://exchanges.wiley.com/authors/faqs---altmetrics_340.html
  26. 26. Information specialist input • Awareness of sources • Advise on coverage • Access • Limitations • Searching expertise • Exploiting thesaurus terms • Adapting searches to different databases • Downloading and managing records • Reporting • Documenting searches • Referencing • Monitoring impact
  27. 27. Other systematic reviews are available… • Journals • Not-for-profit organisations • Commercial organisations • Research calls/commission s

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