€150 – €250
Search Techniques for Systematic Reviews, HTAs and Guidelines

Search Techniques for Systematic Reviews, HTAs and Guidelines

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€150 – €250

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Event description
This workshop provides an opportunity for those who undertake their own searches for evidence syntheses.

About this event


June 23rd & 24th




Systematic reviews attempt to collate all the relevant evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria. One of the key features of a systematic review is a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet these criteria. The reliability of a systematic review or other evidence synthesis is dependent upon the reliability of the search process and the search results.


This workshop provides an opportunity for those who undertake their own searches for evidence syntheses, and those how work with librarians/information specialists on the study identification, to learn more about the process of searching for studies for evidence syntheses. It addresses many of the key aspects of searching for evidence syntheses, in particular how this differs from searching for routine clinical practice/everyday questions.

Learning outcomes

In this course, participants will be enabled to: Understand better the role of the librarian / information specialist in identifying studies for evidence syntheses

  • Distinguish systematic review from meta-analysis
  • Consider alternative frameworks to PICO (for questions beyond clinical effectiveness)
  • Use basic search term identification (text mining) software to assist in identifying possible search terms
  • Understand the importance of study design filters and the need to critique them
  • Explore the various sources of information in The Cochrane Library
  • Understand the importance of clinical trials registers and gain some insights into searching them.
  • Critique their search strategies using an evidence-based peer review checklist (PRESS)
  • Understand the importance of documenting and reporting the search process.

Skill level


Teaching strategies

The workshop will consist of a mixture of short presentations, small group and plenary discussions, together with practical exercises. The number of participants for the course is limited to 25. Tickets are only open to those resident in Ireland & Northern Ireland.


Participants are requested to bring their laptop to the workshop for the practical exercises.

Course content/timetable

Programme – Day 1

10:00 Welcome, introductions, housekeeping

10:15 The librarian’s role in systematic reviews and other evidence syntheses

10:45 Systematic reviews, meta-analyses and forest plots

11:15 Defining the question – beyond PICO

12:00 Text mining for term selection and ranking search output (incl. exercise)

12:45 Lunch

13:15 Methodological search filters (incl. exercise)

14:00 Retractions, errata and comments (incl. exercise)

14:45 Wrap up of day 1 and discussion

15:00 Close

Programme – Day 2

10:00 Welcome, introductions

10:15 Review of day 1 – further questions and comments

10:45 Cochrane and The Cochrane Library

11:30 Searching trials registers (incl. exercise)

12:30 Lunch

13:00 Peer review of search strategies (incl. exercise)

14:00 Documenting and reporting the search process

14:30 Wrap up, discussion and evaluation

15:00 Close


Ms Carol Lefebvre

Carol is an independent information consultant and was previously the Senior Information Specialist at the UK Cochrane Centre in Oxford from 1992 to 2012. She is a founding member of Cochrane and a founding Co-Convenor of the Cochrane Information Retrieval Methods Group. She serves on the Cochrane Methods Executive and is lead author on the searching for and selecting studies chapter of The Cochrane Handbook, which is currently undergoing a major revision.

She was awarded a M.Sc. in Library and Information Science from the University of Loughborough (UK) in 1985 and an Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in 2007.

She now focusses on teaching and consultancy in information retrieval for evidence synthesis, such as systematic reviews, health technology assessment and guideline development.

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