Appraisal of: Waffenschmidt S, Janzen T, Hausner E, Kaiser T. Simple search techniques in PubMed are potentially suitable for evaluating the completeness of systematic reviews. J Clin Epidemiol. 2013; 66(6):660-665.
The aim was to determine whether PubMed's Related Citations (RelCits) and/or a simple-structured Boolean search (SSBS) are efficient and reliable search techniques to assess the completeness of an evidence base consisting of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs). A retrospective analysis of 330 PubMed citations included as relevant in 19 systematic reviews (SRs) of drugs was undertaken, with the proportion of relevant citations identified by both RelCits and SSBS determined. It was concluded that combining the first 20 RelCits and an SSBS in PubMed is a suitable method to assess the completeness of an evidence base of published RCTs.