Program Session

1 - Evaluating the Consistency and Quality of Search Strategies and Methodology in Cochrane Urology Group Systematic Reviews

Sunday, May 28
3:05 PM - 3:20 PM
Room: 607

Objectives: The Cochrane Urology Working Group has undergone multiple administrative and personnel changes over its history, including merging with the Cochrane Prostatic Diseases and Urological Cancers Group. Presently, there are nearly a dozen Information Specialists volunteering from several institutions and two countries. To identify areas for quality and consistency improvement, we evaluated the search methodologies in 64 Urology Group Reviews/Protocols.

Methods: All 64 published Urology Group Cochrane Systematic Reviews (CSR) and Protocols (CSP) were identified and downloaded from the Cochrane Library as of September 15, 2016. A data form was created using Qualtrics to collect evaluative assessments of the CSRs and CSPs. This form consisted of several sections, included expanded PRESS (Peer-Review of Electronic Search Strategies) elements, database and resource selection, search methodology reporting, consistency between search strategies, and related information. Four librarians, including two Cochrane Urology Group Assistant Information Specialists, evaluated 20 CSR/Ps each, allowing overlap to verify data extraction reliability. The form was pre-tested by all four librarians on multiple CSR/Ps before use.


Librarian reviewers noted high variability in CSR/P search methods. The range of databases searched was extremely wide with only MEDLINE and a Cochrane database seen consistently. It was rare to see search strategies provided for all (or even most) databases, with higher inclusivity in more recent reviews. Many reviews were limited to term listings in the methods while others provided one strategy as an example. Publication type filtering was extremely variable, with alterations to standard Cochrane filters common. Most reviews included reference list searching and author contacts, but had little consensus regarding trial registries, conference proceedings, and journal table of contents. Within search strategies, common errors included wrong line numbers, misspellings, inappropriate syntax, and duplicated lines.

 Conclusion: Full reporting of reproducible and documented search methods for reviews is vital. Cochrane Reviews are frequently viewed as the "gold standard" of systematic reviews, therefore the CSR/Ps should have high quality search methodology. This retrospective analysis represents a historical overview of search method reporting in CSR/Ps from the Cochrane Urology Group. Our results demonstrate a need for improved standardization including complete documentation of all strategies, more consistent database selection, less variation in strategy construction, increased use of peer-review and inclusion of the PRISMA Flow Diagram, and tighter adherence to the Cochrane Handbook/MECIR Standards.

Keywords: systematic reviews, expert searching, searching, databases, Cochrane, evaluation, quality improvement, search methodology, research

Program Session

Jennifer A. Lyon

Children's Mercy Hospital
Kansas City, Missouri

Jennifer A. Lyon, AHIP, is a clinical librarian at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. She rounds with inpatient clinical teams and conducts customized literature searches for those teams. Her responsibilties also include supporting the graduate medical education mission of CMH, providing bibliographic instruction, conducting literature searches for all hospital personnel and patient families, and supporting systematic review, clinical guidelines, and clinical/genomics/QI research at CMH. She has over 17 years' experience as a bioinformatics and clinical librarian, providing information services at the point-of-care for various hospital units while also collaborating with researchers. She has hands-on experience in both clinical and biological research, holding an MS in molecular biology (University of Wisconsin-Madison) as well as her MLIS (University of North Carolina-Greensboro).


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Carrie Price

Clinical Informationist
Welch Medical Library
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

Carrie Price is a Clinical Informationist at the Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a member of the Communications Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association. She has worked on a number of systematic reviews. Her busiest clinical departments are Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Nursing. Carrie has a BS from Towson University and an MLS from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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Jamie Saragossi

Health Sciences Collection Development and Outreach Librarian
Stony Brook University Libraries
Stony Brook, New York

Jamie Saragossi, MLS currently serves as the Health Sciences Collection Development and Outreach Librarian at Stony Brook University Health Sciences Library. In this role she also serves as liaison to the School of Social Welfare, the School of Dental Medicine and the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics. Jamie previously worked as the Chief Librarian at Touro College School of Health Sciences where she was the liaison to several departments within the school of health sciences. In this role Jamie was also an embedded librarian in several online classes offering expertise and assistance to students through their course management systems. Prior to receiving her MLS, Jamie was a marketing associate for Double Day Entertainment (Formerly Bookspan). Her research interests are in combining these two fields focusing on best practices for marketing and public relations strategies for health science libraries including the use of social media as well as embedded librarianship.


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Clara Y. Tran

Science Librarian
Stony Brook University Libraries
Stony Brook, New York


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1 - Evaluating the Consistency and Quality of Search Strategies and Methodology in Cochrane Urology Group Systematic Reviews

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