A research team developed a search strategy that can be used by clinicians and researchers when searching for relevant literature about limb prostheses in MEDLINE (EBSCOHost). They found the strategy to be highly sensitive (99.8 percent) and performed with higher relative recall than searches with relevant medical subject headings (MeSH) terms. The final list included 853 records.
To develop the method, the researchers created a list of peer-reviewed articles on the topic of limb prostheses using a relative recall method. They included relevant systematic reviews/meta-analyses, and then added articles that were included in the analysis section of these reviews. Possible terms for the search strategy were identified through brainstorming, exploration of medical subject headings, and standards from the International Organization for Standardization. Concepts were grouped using relevant Boolean operators (e.g., AND and OR) and database record search fields (i.e., MeSH terms, title, and abstract).
Part of the gold-standard list was used to refine the search strategy and reduce the number of records retrieved in total. The remaining set was used to validate and calculate sensitivity of the search strategy. Performance of the search strategy was compared against searches using only relevant MeSH terms.
The study, “Development and validation of a sensitive MEDLINE search strategy to identify literature relevant to limb prostheses,” was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.