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Archived Comments for: Should methodological filters for diagnostic test accuracy studies be used in systematic reviews of psychometric instruments? a case study involving screening for postnatal depression

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  1. searches and filters

    Kath Wright, University of York, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

    13 January 2015

    Mann and Gilbody compare the performance of three search strategies in identifying a reference set of diagnostic test accuracy studies of psychometric instruments.

    One of the search strategies used for comparison is a section from a strategy designed by CRD for a review of methods to identify postnatal depression in primary care1. Mann and Gilbody refer to this as the `CRD Filter Search¿. However, the application of the term filter to what was in essence a search strategy designed for a specific project, gives the strategy a status that is unwarranted.

    The authors don¿t make clear the distinction between a search strategy and a search filter. A search filter being a strategy that is designed and tested with the intention of being used on a regular basis to identify studies with specific features e.g. RCT study, cohort study etc.2.

    CRD has not produced a diagnostic filter. In the light of recent research 3-4 we follow the `target condition and index test¿ method as, in fact, is recommended by this article.

    1. Hewitt C, Gilbody S, Brealey S, Paulden M, Palmer S, Mann R, et al. Methods to identify postnatal depression in primary care: an integrated evidence synthesis and value of information analysis. Health Technol Assess 2009;13:230.
    2. Golder S, Loke Y. Search strategies to identify information on adverse effects: a systematic review. JMLA 2009;97:84-92.
    3. Cochrane Handbook for DTA Reviews. Available from:
    4. Whiting P, Westwood M, Beynon R, Burke M, Sterne J, Glanville J. Inclusion of methodological filters in searches for diagnostic test accuracy studies misses relevant studies. J Clin Epidemiol 2011;64:602-7.

    Competing interests

    None declared