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Table 5 Search methods

From: Toward a comprehensive evidence map of overview of systematic review methods: paper 1—purpose, eligibility, search and data extraction

Step Sub-step Methods/approaches Sources
▪ Examples
1.0 Plan the sources to search
  1.1 Determine the type of sources to search
   1.1.1 Select the types of databases to search (e.g. SR databases (e.g. Cochrane, Epistemonikos), prospective SR registers (e.g. PROSPERO), or general bibliographic databases (e.g. EMBASE, PubMed), or grey literature databases (e.g. conference databases, government websites)) Becker 2008 [1]; Baker 2014 [29]; Caird 2015 [31]; Cooper 2012 [32]; Hartling 2012 [35]; 2014 [37]; James 2014 [39]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]; Li 2012 [44]; Pieper 2012 [6, 45]; Pieper 2014 [47]; Silva 2015 [55]; Smith 2011 [57]; Thomson 2013 [59]; Whitlock 2008 [49,50,51]
   1.1.2 Select other types of sources (e.g. reference checking, forward citation searching, handsearching key journals)a Cooper 2012 [32]; Hartling 2012 [35]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]; Li 2012 [44]; Smith 2011 [57]
   1.1.3 Select a combination of 1.1.1–1.1.2 Cooper 2012 [32]; Hartling 2012 [35]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]; Silva 2015 [55]; Smith 2011 [57]; Whitlock 2008 [48,49,50,51,52]
2.0 Plan the search strategy for retrieval of SRs
  2.1 Determine the search filter to use in general databases
   2.1.1 Select a published SR filter (e.g. EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed) Cooper 2012 [32]; CMIMG 2012 [4]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]; Robinson 2016 [48,49,50,51,52]; Smith 2011 [57]
▪ Montori 2006 SR filter (Cooper 2012 [32])
   2.1.2 Develop a new search filter based on a conceptual approach or a textual analysis approach Baker 2014 [29]; Caird 2015 [31]; Cooper 2012 [32]; Hartling 2012 [35]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]
3.0 Plan how primary studies will be retrieved, if eligibility criteria determines that primary studies should be included
  3.1 Determine the sequence for searching
   3.1.1 Run a parallel search strategy for both SRs and primary studies simultaneously Baker 2014 [29]; JBI 2015 [40, 41]; Pieper 2014 [46]; Pieper 2014 [47]; Salanti 2011 [3]; Thomson 2013 [59]; Whitlock 2008 [49,50,51]
   3.1.2 Run a sequential search strategy first for SRs and second for primary studies (i.e. either develop a strategy to search for primary studies, or use the search strategies of the included SRs to search for primary studies) Pieper 2014 [47]
  3.2 Use pragmatic/expedient approaches to retrieve primary studies Caird 2015 [31]
▪ Consult experts (Caird 2015 [31])
  3.3 Select a combination of 3.1–3.2
  1. CMIMG Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group, JBI Joanna Briggs Institute, PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews, SRs systematic reviews
  2. aAdaption of the step from SRs to overviews. No methods evaluation required, but special consideration needs to be given to unique issues that arise in conducting overviews