Thursday, 5 June 2014

Needles in Haystacks: Part 2: which haystacks should we look in?

Having decided what we are going to search for, the next important aspect of the searching is deciding where to look. In consultation with the review team we have decided which bibliographic databases and other resources should be searched and the words and phrases that will be used. We need to search different databases because they each include different literature.  Sometimes the content overlaps so we have to make sure we remove duplicate records from the search results, but it’s better to find something twice than miss it from a search.

A good systematic review must search at least Medline and Embase because these databases are the most comprehensive and important ones in health sciences.  Our search includes a number of other databases, for example CINAHL which covers a wide range of topics including nursing and allied health disciplines. We have also considered specialist databases, and are including the database PEDro which indexes the physiotherapy literature in our list of databases to search. We are also searching clinical trials registers to identify ongoing or unpublished studies. This should help make sure we find the most up to date research available.

Since starting this blog post I have now complete the searches.  I have identified 4233 bibliographic references for the reviewers to look through. Hidden amongst these will be the studies which might just help us find out which orthotics are most helpful for people with knee instability in neuromuscular disease and central nervous system disorders.

Blogger: Rocio Rodriguez-Lopez

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