Appraisal of: Glanville J, Bayliss S, Booth A, Dundar Y, Fernandes H, Fleeman N D, Foster L, Fraser C, Fry-Smith A, Golder S, Lefebvre C, Miller C, Paisley S, Payne L, Price A and Welch K. So many filters, so little time: the development of a search

Short description: 

Study describes the development and testing of a tool used to assess the quality of search filters designed to retrieve records for studies with a specific research design. The resulting tool comprises a search filter appraisal checklist that reports both filter design methods and search performance i.e. sensitivity and precision. As well as helping information specialists select the most appropriate filter, it can also be used by researchers developing search filters by indicating what aspects of filter development should be reported to ensure that the methodology can be successfully evaluated.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

The performance of the checklist has not been assessed using independent assessors and a range of filters.

Subsequent to the development of the issg tool, CADTH produced a critical appraisal and ranking tool. No comparison between the two has been conducted to date.

The issg checklist has restricted its focus to search filters designed to retrieve studies with a specific research type (e.g. RCT or diagnostic test accuracy study). There has not yet been any exploration of whether any of the processes could also be applied to other search filters.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
Since 2008 when this project was undertaken there has been increased interest in the use of text mining techniques as an alternative method of identifying and retrieving relevant information from large databases. Although still at the research stage currently, if these methods become well established the need for search filters will decrease over time.
Study Type: 
Single study
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