A failed attempt at developing a search filter for systematic review methodology articles in Ovid Embase





Research, Filter, Failure, Professional Practice


Objectives: This paper describes the development, execution, and subsequent failure of an attempt to create an Ovid Embase search filter for locating systematic review methodology articles.

Methods: The authors devised a work plan, based on best practices, for search filter development that has been outlined in the literature. Three reference samples were gathered by identifying the OVID Embase records for specific articles that were included in the PubMed Systematic Review Methods subset. The first sample was analyzed to develop a set of keywords and subject headings to include in the search filter. The second and third samples would have been used to calibrate the search filter and to calculate filter sensitivity and precision, respectively.

Results: Technical shortcomings, database indexing practices, and the fuzzy nature of keyword terminology relevant to the topic prevented us from designing the search filter.

Conclusion: Creating a search filter to identify systematic review methodology articles in Ovid Embase is not possible at this time.


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Original Investigation