Appraisal of: Pohl, S. Boolean and Ranked Information Retrieval for Biomedical Systematic Reviewing [thesis]. Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering: University of Melbourne; 2012.

Short description: 

The aim of the study was to devise and examine ranked retrieval methods with regard to their applicability to the search tasks involved in the preparation and update of systematic reviews. A ranked retrieval alternative in the form of the p-norm extended Boolean retrieval (EBR) model was shown to provide advantages over the current Boolean approach, but to also satisfy important task specific requirements. Using this retrieval method, a greater number of relevant studies than with the current Boolean approach can be identified for inclusion in systematic reviews, reducing the dependence on potentially biased secondary search methods. The method is close to current practice and hence requires minimal changes to the current process, which should facilitate its adoption.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

"One caveat with this experimental setup is that the queries could possibly be biased by knowledge about the documents in the test set. Hence, absolute performance on the test set might not be reliable, but this setup still allows for relative comparison of the approach because both the optimized queries as well as the baseline would have this advantage." (p. 154)

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations were detected by the reviewers.
Study Type: 
Single study
Supplemental publications to the study: