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Systematic review identifies six metrics and one method for assessing literature search effectiveness but no consensus on appropriate use

Cooper, C; Varley-Campbell, J; Booth, A; Britten, N; Garside, R; (2018) Systematic review identifies six metrics and one method for assessing literature search effectiveness but no consensus on appropriate use. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology , 99 pp. 53-63. 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.02.025. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To identify the metrics or methods used by researchers to determine the effectiveness of literature searching where supplementary search methods are compared to bibliographic database searching. We also aimed to determine which metrics or methods are summative or formative and how researchers defined effectiveness in their studies. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic review. We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify published studies evaluating literature search effectiveness in health or allied topics. RESULTS: Fifty studies met full-text inclusion criteria. Six metrics (Sensitivity, Specificity, Precision, Accuracy, Number Needed to Read and Yield) and one method (Capture recapture) were identified. CONCLUSION: Studies evaluating effectiveness need to identify clearly the threshold at which they will define effectiveness and how the evaluation they report relates to this threshold. Studies that attempt to investigate literature search effectiveness should be informed by the reporting of confidence intervals, which aids interpretation of uncertainty around the result, and the search methods used to derive effectiveness estimates should be clearly reported and validated in studies.

Type: Article
Title: Systematic review identifies six metrics and one method for assessing literature search effectiveness but no consensus on appropriate use
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.02.025
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.02.025
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045540
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