Translation and validation of PubMed and Embase search filters for identification of systematic reviews, intervention studies, and observational studies in the field of first aid
Keywords:search filters, guideline development, study design filters, first aid
Objective: The aim of this project was to validate search filters for systematic reviews, intervention studies, and observational studies translated from Ovid MEDLINE and Embase syntax and used for searches in PubMed and Embase.com during the development of evidence summaries supporting first aid guidelines. We aimed to achieve a balance among recall, specificity, precision, and number needed to read (NNR).
Methods: Reference gold standards were constructed per study type derived from existing evidence summaries. Search filter performance was assessed through retrospective searches and measurement of relative recall, specificity, precision, and NNR when using the translated search filters. Where necessary, search filters were optimized. Adapted filters were validated in separate validation gold standards.
Results: Search filters for systematic reviews and observational studies reached recall of ≥85% in both PubMed and Embase. Corresponding specificities for systematic review filters were ≥96% in both databases, with a precision of 9.7% (NNR 10) in PubMed and 5.4% (NNR 19) in Embase. For observational study filters, specificity, precision, and NNR were 68%, 2%, and 51 in PubMed and 47%, 0.8%, and 123 in Embase, respectively. These filters were considered sufficiently effective. Search filters for intervention studies reached a recall of 85% and 83% in PubMed and Embase, respectively. Optimization led to recall of ≥95% with specificity, precision, and NNR of 49%, 1.3%, and 79 in PubMed and 56%, 0.74%, and 136 in Embase, respectively.
Conclusions: We report validated filters to search for systematic reviews, observational studies, and intervention studies in guideline projects in PubMed and Embase.com.
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