Appraisal of: Younger P, Boddy K. When is a search not a search? A comparison of searching the AMED complementary health database via EBSCOhost, OVID and DIALOG. Health Info Libr J 2009:26:126-135.

Short description: 

The aim of this study was to investigate whether searching different interfaces DIALOG DataStar; EBSCOhost and OVID SP to the AMED allied health and complementary medicine database produced the same results when using identical search terms.

Using a simple search on Echinacea and the common cold, DIALOG returned 29 hits, OVID 14 and Ebsco 8. Single word searches also demonstrated a similar variation in the number of records retrieved, as did searches on other simple case studies. The authors conclude that depending on the interface, the number of hits retrieved from the same database with the same simple search can vary dramatically.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

No field limits, wildcards or truncation was applied to the searches. With manipulation the results would be different.
They did not investigate the relevance of the results. 

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewers.