Author Archives: Anthea Sutton

The Systematic Review Toolbox at ISPOR 20th Annual European Congress

We’ve been working away behind the scenes at the Systematic Review Toolbox with some exciting stuff on horizon scanning for new tools. We conducted a mapping exercise of the software tool research publications currently indexed in the toolbox using Yale MeSH Analyser and VOS Viewer text mining software.  Our findings are informing the development of a search strategy to ensure new tools are identified and indexed in the toolbox efficiently.

We’re pleased to be presenting this work via a research methods poster at the ISPOR 20th Annual European Congress in Glasgow this week.  The poster (PRM246 Location I12) will be on display on Wednesday 8th November from 08.45 until 14.00.  The author discussion hour with Dr Chris Marshall, developer and editor of the SR toolbox, will be between 13.00-14.00, so if you are attending ISPOR and want to know more, please come and say hello then.

Density Visualization Map of potential search terms generated by VOSviewer

Density Visualization Map of potential search terms generated by VOSviewer



Demonstrating the SR Toolbox

Last week I was invited to demonstrate the Systematic Review Toolbox (SR Toolbox) at our in-house Systematic Reviews Issues and Updates Symposium (SYRIUS) at ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research) at The University of Sheffield.  The symposium provides an opportunity for researchers to get together and share updates of systematic review methodological work being undertaken in ScHARR, so it was a great opportunity to promote the SR Toolbox and the resources it contains.  The SR Toolbox slot on the symposium programme consisted of a short presentation introducing the toolbox with a potted history of its creation and development.  This was followed by a live demonstration, which included some tips on using the toolbox.  Here are a few of those tips:

1.  You can use “Quick Search” to search for more than just the tool name

You can use “Quick Search” to search for tools by name, but you can also use it to search the titles and descriptions of tools. For example, if you’re interested in finding tools for critical appraisal, type it into the “Quick Search” box and you will find tools that mention “critical appraisal” in either the title or description of the tool. However, be aware this is exactly what it says it is, a “Quick Search”, so if you want a comprehensive list of all the critical appraisal tools in the toolbox, be sure to use “Advanced Search”.


2.  In “Advanced Search” selecting more than one feature will search for the features using “AND”

When using “Advanced Search”, it is important to note that if you select more than one feature, the toolbox uses the Boolean Operator “AND” and will return tools that meet all the features you selected.


3.  If you want to browse all the tools in the toolbox…

For Software Tools, tick the “Any” box underneath where it says “Check ‘Any’ if not concerned about any specific features”.


For “Other Tools”, check all 4 “Find me” boxes.


4.  The toolbox provides references to tool-related journal articles where available

The tool records in the toolbox link to/reference journal articles where they are available.  This might be an article about the development of the tool or a review of using the tool by a systematic reviewer who’s tried it out. If you know of any articles relating to tools in the toolbox, please get in touch and we will update the tool record accordingly.

I concluded the session by discussing the “community-driven” aspect of the toolbox.  Systematic reviewers and tool developers are encouraged to submit tools to the toolbox via the “Add a New Tool” feature.  The remit of the toolbox is to catalogue both software and other types of tools/supporting mechanisms (such as checklists, guidelines and reporting standards).  So if you discover a new tool that meets these criteria, please share it with your systematic review peers and colleagues by submitting it to the toolbox, which will help to continue the development of this really useful resource.

Anthea Sutton

Senior Information Specialist

ScHARR, The University of Sheffield