CEBaP refines its methods to increase time-efficiency of literature searches


Searching the literature for relevant publications to answer a specific research question is a time-consuming process. Often, large numbers of database records need to be screened. To decrease the numbers a systematic reviewer needs to screen, search filters are often used. These are fixed sets of search terms to identify records to share a certain feature (e.g. study design). The quality of a literature search that uses a search filter is of course dependent on how well this search filter identifies the records it intends to identify. A validated search filter is a filter that has been tested, both in terms of how well it identifies records that have the desired feature (i.e. the sensitivity) as well as how well it excludes records that do not have this feature (i.e. the specificity).

Up to now, the search filters CEBaP had in use to identify systematic reviews, experimental studies and observational studies were not validated for use in the PubMed and interfaces of the Medline and Embase databases. In a new publication, we have validated and where necessary optimized our search filters, specifically for the development of evidence summaries in the field of first aid. This means that quality of future literature searches in the field of first aid will increase. This project is part of CEBaP’s strive for continuous quality improvement, in light of our ISO 9001:2015 certification. 

Read the full publication here.