A large portion of your systematic review will be spent in creating and gathering search terms (keywords and controlled vocabulary). This is a key part where librarian assistance can be extremely helpful.
FINDING THE SEARCH TERMS
Subject heading frequency analysis of gold standard articles
Create search string 1
Test search string 1 against gold standard articles, if GSAs are not found modify the search string
Translate search string to remaining databases
Use the Yale MeSH analyzer to gather the medical subject headings of your gold standard articles. Results can be exported and analyzed so that you can choose appropriate medical subject headings.
During term harvesting gather terms from:
These tools can help determine frequency of terms:
|asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage|
|MESH||PubMed ENTRY TERMS||Emtree||Embase synonyms||Other|
|Cerebral Hemorrhage[Mesh]||Cerebrum Hemorrhage*||'brain hemorrhage'/exp||brain bleeding||ICH||Asymptomatic|
|Cerebral Parenchymal Hemorrhage*||brain haemorrhage||aICH||Non symptomatic|
|Intracerebral Hemorrhage*||brain hemorrhage||nonsymptomatic|
|Cerebral Hemorrhage*||brain microhaemorrhage||symptomless|
|MESH Tree||Cerebral Brain Hemorrhage*||Emtree Tree||brain microhemorrhage||symptom-less|
|Basal Ganglia Hemorrhage||brain ventricle hemorrhage||cerebral haemorrhage|
|Putaminal Hemorrhage||cerebellum hemorrhage||cerebral hemorrhage|
|Cerebral Hemorrhage, Traumatic||massive intracerebral hemorrhage||cerebral microbleed|
|Cerebral Intraventricular Hemorrhage||subarachnoid hemorrhage||corpus callosum bleeding|
Once you have gathered the controlled vocabulary, keywords, synonyms, and phrases - it is time to begin combining the terms to create a search string for one database. Key components for this include: Boolean operators, truncation, proximity searching, and wildcards.
|Near||Next (or Within)|
|EBSCO Databases (including CINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO)||Nx||Wx|
|PubMed||does not allow proximity searching||does not allow proximity searching|
Once you have formatted your search string you need to test it to make sure that it finds your gold standard articles. If your search string does not find your GSAs you will need to make appropriate adjustments.
Unfortunately, there is not a magic search string format that will work in all databases. You will need to translate search string #1 that you have verified finds your gold standard articles. This includes potentially changing or removing:
There are quite a few tools and guidelines that can help you with this step:
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