Identifying observational studies of surgical interventions in MEDLINE and EMBASE
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Background: Health technology as sessments of surgical interventions frequently require the inclusion of non-randomised evidence. Literature search strategies employed to identify this evidence often exclude a methodological component because of uncertainty surrounding the use of appropriate search terms. This can result in the retrieval of a large number of irrelevant records. Methodological filters would help to minimise this, making literature searching more efficient. Methods: An objective approach was employed to develop MEDLINE and EMBASE filters, using a reference standard derived from screening the results of an electronic literature search that contained only subject-related terms. Candidate terms for MEDLINE (N = 37) and EMBASE (N =35) were derived from examination of the records of the reference standard. The filters were validated on two sets of studies that had been included in previous health technology assessments. Results: The final filters were highly sensitive (MEDLINE 99.5%, EMBASE 100%, MEDLINE/EMBASE combined 100%) with precision ranging between 16.7% – 21.1%, specificity 35.3% – 43.5%, and a reduction in retrievals of over 30%. Against the validation standards, the individual filtersretrieved 85.2% – 100% of records. In combination, however, the MEDLINE and EMBASE filters retrieved 100% against both validation standards with a reduction in retrieved records of 28.4% and 30.1% Conclusion: The MEDLINE and EMBASE filters were highly sensitive and substantially reduced the number of records retrieved, indicating that they are useful tools for efficient literature searching.
Fraser , C M , Murray , A C & Burr , J M 2006 , ' Identifying observational studies of surgical interventions in MEDLINE and EMBASE ' BMC Medical Research Methodology , vol 6 , 41 . DOI: 10.1186/1471-2288-6-41
BMC Medical Research Methodology
© 2006 Fraser et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
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