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NURS 7304 - State of the Science: Finding Evidence

The Scientific Literature

Mining-of-the-scholarly-literature-PMR

Finding CPGs

In the databases:

Many health-related databases collect guidelines. Generally, users can limit to guidelines as a publication type, or search directly for guidelines using a subject heading or MeSH term.

  • PubMed: limit to publication type "Guideline," or use "Practice Guideline"[pt] in your search
  • CINAHL: Use MH "practice guidelines" in your search

TRIP Database:

TRIP Database is a subscription-based web crawler, but offers access to citations for guidelines as part of its free service. Search using natural language, and limit results to CPGs.

ECRI Guideline Trust:

  • Publicly-available CPG repository
  • Users must register to access the guidelines, but registration is free
  • Funded with the help of the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
  • Non-profit healthcare research institute

Background Information

In order to discuss the SOS, you must be familiar with the subject. It is important to locate topic overviews and understand the basic science and history of your topic. There are many ways to approach background information including:

  • Reading Medline Overviews
  • Finding topic overviews in PubMed or CINAHL
  • Looking for other state of the science papers relevant to your topic
  • Consulting reference resources like the Gale Virtual Reference Collection

You will draw on your skills from NURS 6320 here.

You may also wish to brush up on current statistics for context.

Finding Statistics
Site Name URL
America's Health Rankings https://www.americashealthrankings.org/
County Health Rankings (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) https://www.countyhealthrankings.org/
Center for Health Statistics (Texas DSHS) https://www.dshs.texas.gov/chs/
State Health Facts Online (Kaiser Family Foundation) https://www.kff.org/statedata/

Finding Systematic Reviews

TRIP Database:

TRIP Database is a subscription-based web crawler, but offers access to citations for guidelines as part of its free service. Search using natural language, and limit results to Systematic Reviews.

Cochrane Library:

Cochrane reviews have a huge reputation and are well-known. They are indexed in PubMed and should show up in a searches there. However, it is a good idea to check Cochrane independently as well with a keyword search to be sure you haven't missed anything relevant to your paper.

In the databases:

Many health-related databases collect guidelines. Generally, users can limit to guidelines as a publication type, or search directly for guidelines using a subject heading or MeSH term.

  • PubMed: limit to publication type "Guideline," or use "Practice Guideline"[pt] in your search
  • CINAHL: Use MH "practice guidelines" in your search
Google Scholar Advanced

Google Scholar offers an "Advanced" function that allows users to customize and control their searches.

Try combining keywords relevant to your topic with an exact match for:

  • systematic review
  • umbrella review
  • practice guideline

You do not need to export and sort through all of the results - especially because there may be thousands. Limit by date to limit the results.

Remember, Google uses an algorithm that predicts what you will think is interesting to click on. You may consider going beyond the first few pages of results to see if there is anything useful for your paper.

Relevant Studies

If there are no existing Systematic Reviews or Clinical Practice Guidelines relevant to your topic, you will need to identify relevant studies across multiple databases. Here you will draw on your experience from NURS 7303 with building a structured search.

Scoping Reviews

While useful in many respects, scoping reviews may not be especially useful for SOS papers. You may consider reviewing any you run across for background information, like defining terms, or identifying gaps in the current literature, but you do not need to seek them out.

Umbrella Reviews

Umbrella reviews are syntheses of systematic reviews or meta-anlyses on a given topic. You may find these in well-researched areas like diabetes, or caffeine consumption. They should appear in the results of your search for systematic reviews.

See an example here.

You will treat these in the same way you would any systematic review or meta-analysis. However, you will want to determine whether the individual reviews and/or studies you have compiled are represented in the umbrella review.