Wednesday, 5 June 2019

A handy resource for updating systematic review searches

As someone who has only worked on systematic reviews for the past year or so, I am also fairly new to the concept of re-running searches.

Previously I thought it was as simple as re-running a strategy, limiting it to the years covering the interim period, and sending off the RIS files for any deduplication with existing results. However, when on the Systematic Reviews course provided by the CRD team at the University of York, this topic was brought up, and we were told it’s a much more complicated process than you’d think. In fact it takes up a whole separate course by itself!

So when I was asked by one of the Fellows to run an update search for their systematic review, I knew I needed to look into how to do this properly. The problem is, limiting by date only limits by publication date, not when the record was added to the database. Therefore, if only limiting by date, you won’t pick up records from outside of that publication period, which also weren’t on the database at the time of the initial searches. However, searching by the date added to the database was not as straightforward as it seemed.

I quickly found talk of using the “date delivered” field on Ovid, but no specific help on the correct syntax to use. That’s when I found this wonderful page from the McGill library:

They’ve created a really useful table with templates of the correct syntax for each database:

As I tend to use the native interfaces for systematic reviews, this is an absolute lifesaver. I’m yet to discover how this is possible if using HDAS (if at all), but for the moment this great resource is firmly bookmarked.

Do you have any tips or tricks for re-running searches? Let us know!