Appraisal of: Bak G, Mierzwinski-Urban M, Fitzsimmons H, Morrison A, Maden-Jenkins M. A pragmatic critical appraisal instrument for search filters: introducing the CADTH CAI. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Sep;26(3):211-9

Reviewer(s): 
Short description: 

This paper describes the search for a pragmatic critical appraisal instrument (CAI) that experienced systematic review searchers can use in the selection of robust search filters. A focused search of the literature identified a single candidate - the critical appraisal tool developed by Michelle Jenkins. Testing of this showed that its use requires an in-depth understanding of search filter methodology and statistics that not all information specialists may possess. In light of these findings, the authors substantially revised the tool to consist of 6 domains and 10 closed questions. Instructions about how to use the tool are provided. It features a key question about whether the filter being appraised is up to date.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

The authors acknowledged that the CADTH CAI is a pragmatic tool for use by information specialists and suggested that research methodologists would be better served using the original, more sophisticated, appraisal tool developed by Jenkins. Even less experienced searchers with little knowledge of controlled vocabularies and search filter methodologies could potentially find the CADTH CAI difficult to use. They also highlighted the lack of research demonstrating whether the most relevant studies are included in the smaller results sets obtained when a filter is incorporated into the search strategy.

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