BOX 3-1

Recommended Standards for Finding and Assessing Individual Studies

Standard 3.1 Conduct a comprehensive systematic search for evidence

Required elements:

3.1.1

Work with a librarian or other information specialist trained in performing systematic reviews (SRs) to plan the search strategy

3.1.2

Design the search strategy to address each key research question

3.1.3

Use an independent librarian or other information specialist to peer review the search strategy

3.1.4

Search bibliographic databases

3.1.5

Search citation indexes

3.1.6

Search literature cited by eligible studies

3.1.7

Update the search at intervals appropriate to the pace of generation of new information for the research question being addressed

3.1.8

Search subject-specific databases if other databases are unlikely to provide all relevant evidence

3.1.9

Search regional bibliographic databases if other databases are unlikely to provide all relevant evidence

Standard 3.2 Take action to address potentially biased reporting of research results

Required elements:

3.2.1

Search grey-literature databases, clinical trial registries, and other sources of unpublished information about studies

3.2.2

Invite researchers to clarify information related to study eligibility, study characteristics, and risk of bias

3.2.3

Invite all study sponsors to submit unpublished data, including unreported outcomes, for possible inclusion in the systematic review

3.2.4

Handsearch selected journals and conference abstracts

3.2.5

Conduct a web search

3.2.6

Search for studies reported in languages other than English if appropriate

Standard 3.3 Screen and select studies

Required elements:

3.3.1

Include or exclude studies based on the protocol’s pre-specified criteria



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