Grey literature

Scope: use to index papers investigating any publication format which is not a journal article, book or book chapter, collections of grey literature, how to identify grey literature and investigations of the contribution of grey literature to HTA

Appraisal of: Wood H, Arber M, Glanville JM. Systematic reviews of economic evaluations: how extensive are their searches? Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2017 Mar 27:1-7.

Reviewer(s): 
Short description: 

This study evaluated the search methodology of recent systematic reviews of economic evaluations. A sample of 42 reviews identified through a MEDLINE search was analyzed. The analysis included: databases searched (general & specialist), health technology assessment sources searched, and supplementary search techniques used. The search approaches used in the systematic reviews were compared to two current recommendations: 1) the minimum search resources from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) economic search requirements for single technology appraisals; 2) the resources recommended in the costs and economic evaluation chapter of SuRe Info. A majority (55%) of the reviews did not meet either the NICE or SuRe Info recommendations. The data collection was hindered by lack of clarity and errors in search methodology reporting within the systematic reviews. It is likely that current recommendations on searching for economic evaluations will change due to the recent closure of two specialized databases (NHS EED & HEED). 

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

The sample of systematic reviews was pragmatic and limited to papers which were freely available or available through the authors' subscription access. Additionally, the sample was limited to English language systematic reviews only. Reviews were determined to be systematic reviews if the review authors identified them as such; however, it is possible that the review authors may have mislabeled narrative reviews as systematic.  Because of lack of clarity in search methodology reporting, reviews that vaguely mentioned searching "The Cochrane Library" were assumed to have searched all databases contained by this resource, which may have overestimated the use of the NHS EED and HTA databases.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewers.
Study Type: 
Single study

Appraisal of: Wood H, Arber, M, Glanville J. Information resources used in published systematic reviews of economic evaluations [poster].

Reviewer(s): 
Short description: 

This study examined the search methods of recent systematic reviews (SRs) of economic evaluations (EEs) to evaluate whether the sources searched to identify studies reflected current recommendations. A pragmatic search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE to identify English SRs of EEs published since January 2013. For reviews that met inclusion criteria, two reviewers extracted data on: which general medical and specialised economic databases were searched, the HTA sources searched, and any additional sources or search techniques employed. Results were compared against NICE's economic search requirements for single technology appraisals and the resources recommended in the costs and economic evaluation chapter of SuRe Info.  42 reviews were selected for inclusion. 5 of these reviews searched all of the resources required for NICE submissions, while 9 searched at least 4 of the 6 resource types recommended by SuRe Info. None of the studies searched all 6 types of the search resources recommended by SuRe Info. These results suggest that the majority of SRs of EEs do not meet the current recommendations for identifying economic evidence. 

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

Since a pragmatic search was used to identify articles in the sample, it is possible that some relevant systematic reviews were not included in the analysis.

Because of frequent mistakes and ambiguity in the reporting of database and interface names in the included reviews, the authors had to make some assumptions about which resources were searched. It is possible that the use of both NHS EED and the HTA Database was overestimated as a result of reviews reporting only that "The Cochrane Library", which contains both databases, was searched. 

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewer.
Study Type: 
Single study
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