How we find the tools…

You might have noticed we’ve added a few new things to the toolbox site recently to give our users a bit more information on how the toolbox works.  We’ve recently published our eligibility criteria for tools here, but how do we find potential candidates for inclusion in the first place?

Regular visitors, particularly those who follow @SRToolbox on Twitter, may know that we run a search on MEDLINE every month, with the aim to find any new tools, or new papers about existing tools.  The search strategy was developed from a mapping exercise we conducted in 2017.  We analysed the existing papers catalogued in the toolbox using the Yale MeSH Analyzer tool.  This identified 77 MeSH headings which were ranked in order of frequency.  The bibliographic data (including abstracts) of the analysed publications were then uploaded to VOSviewer and a density visualization map (See Figure 1) was generated to identify a network of frequently occurring and relevant free-text terms.

The most frequently occuring terms include: data, validity, tool, systematic review, review, risk, bias, user

Figure 1: Part of the Density Visualization Map generated via VOSviewer showing the most frequently occurring terms in red.

The MEDLINE search strategy was then developed based on the findings of the mapping exercise.

But this is only part of the story.  We have found very little duplication across the different retrieval methods we use, therefore using a range of approaches seems to be best.  An analysis of the tools identified between January and September 2018 revealed that while the MEDLINE search is successful at identifying unique tools, engaging with the systematic review community via the toolbox website and social media found the most tools.  So, as we have always said, the toolbox needs you! If you see, hear about, or develop a tool, please add it to the site here to help us ensure the toolbox remains current, relevant and useful. And do feel free to contact us with any queries or suggestions.

-Anthea

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