Comparing retrieval of systematic review searches in health sciences areas using two major databases

Arian Abdulla (Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Mangala Krishnamurthy (Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

Reference Reviews

ISSN: 0950-4125

Publication date: 17 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Effective literature searches are critical to researchers and health care professionals. To conduct literature searches, clinicians, researchers and nurses rely primarily on a few major databases (PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, etc.) to retrieve information. However, there is a lack of literature on the comparative efficiencies of major databases for systematic review results on a clinically related topic. This paper aims to fill that gap in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

Cochrane Handbook (2011) defines systematic review as 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 analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. In this paper, search results of systematic reviews on a clinical topic between two major databases – PubMed and Cochrane Library – are compared.

Findings

Searching within PubMed for key terms in the titles and abstracts of articles is important to include in any systematic review, in addition to searching Medical Subject Heading terms. After applying filters, PubMed retrieved 130 systematic reviews that matched the criteria. In Cochrane Library, the searches were performed on the chosen topic using Boolean and phrase searching: text field searches resulted in 251 reviews. The search was further narrowed by subject, which yielded 20 reviews. It is strongly recommended to use multiple health-care specialty databases, check for duplicate reviews in the results and not limit results to English-only publications.

Practical implications

This paper can be used to introduce new researchers and/or students to methods for conducting systematic reviews using two or more databases on a chosen topic.

Originality/value

This paper fills a gap in the literature regarding comparative efficiencies of major databases for systematic review results on clinically related topics.

Keywords

Citation

Abdulla, A. and Krishnamurthy, M. (2016), "Comparing retrieval of systematic review searches in health sciences areas using two major databases", Reference Reviews, Vol. 30 No. 8, pp. 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1108/RR-03-2016-0082

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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