It's in your hands : the value of handsearching in conducting systematic reviews of public health interventions

Armstrong, Rebecca, Jackson, Nicki, Doyle, Jodie, Waters, Elizabeth and Howes, Faline 2005, It's in your hands : the value of handsearching in conducting systematic reviews of public health interventions, Journal of public health, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 388-391, doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdi056.

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Title It's in your hands : the value of handsearching in conducting systematic reviews of public health interventions
Author(s) Armstrong, Rebecca
Jackson, Nicki
Doyle, Jodie
Waters, Elizabeth
Howes, Faline
Journal name Journal of public health
Volume number 27
Issue number 4
Start page 388
End page 391
Publisher Oxford Journals
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 1741-3842
Keyword(s) handsearching
systematic review
health promotion
public health
Summary Background While there is an emerging evidence base in public health, the evidence can often be difficult to find. Indexing of journals in MEDLINE has assisted those conducting systematic reviews to more easily identify published studies. However, information technology and the processes associated with indexing are not infallible. Studies may not be correctly marked by study design which may mean they are missed in the electronic searching process. Handsearching for evidence of intervention effectiveness has therefore become a recognized tool in the systematic review process.

Methods Resources to guide handsearching activity currently are clinically focused, and may not be sensitive to the characteristics of public health studies where study terminology may differ. In response to this issue, the Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field (the Field) developed and implemented a small study to recruit and support handsearchers from around the world to identify health promotion and public health trials and systematic reviews. A strategic framework was developed to recruit and support handsearchers to search six public health-related journals.

Results In total, 131 trials and 21 systematic reviews were identified. The greatest value of handsearching was found to be in supplement editions and abstract sections of journals

Conclusions The study focused exclusively on indexed journals with the intention that tools and methods developed could be used to explore the potential for handsearching in non-indexed journals and for unpublished studies. The findings from this study will continue to support handsearching efforts and in doing so contribute to high quality systematic reviews of public health interventions.

Language eng
DOI 10.1093/pubmed/fdi056
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, The Author
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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