Citation searches are more sensitive than keyword searches to identify studies using specific measurement instruments.

TitleCitation searches are more sensitive than keyword searches to identify studies using specific measurement instruments.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLinder SK, Kamath GR, Pratt GF, Saraykar SS, Volk RJ
JournalJournal of clinical epidemiology
Volume68
Issue4
Pagination412-7
Date Published2015 Apr
ISSN1878-5921
KeywordsAbstracting and Indexing as Topic; Databases, Bibliographic; Databases, Factual; Decision Support Techniques; Humans; Information Storage and Retrieval; Internet; PubMed
AbstractOBJECTIVES: To compare the effectiveness of two search methods in identifying studies that used the Control Preferences Scale (CPS), a health care decision-making instrument commonly used in clinical settings. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We searched the literature using two methods: (1) keyword searching using variations of "Control Preferences Scale" and (2) cited reference searching using two seminal CPS publications. We searched three bibliographic databases [PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science (WOS)] and one full-text database (Google Scholar). We report precision and sensitivity as measures of effectiveness. RESULTS: Keyword searches in bibliographic databases yielded high average precision (90%) but low average sensitivity (16%). PubMed was the most precise, followed closely by Scopus and WOS. The Google Scholar keyword search had low precision (54%) but provided the highest sensitivity (70%). Cited reference searches in all databases yielded moderate sensitivity (45-54%), but precision ranged from 35% to 75% with Scopus being the most precise. CONCLUSION: Cited reference searches were more sensitive than keyword searches, making it a more comprehensive strategy to identify all studies that use a particular instrument. Keyword searches provide a quick way of finding some but not all relevant articles. Goals, time, and resources should dictate the combination of which methods and databases are used.
DOI10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.10.008
Alternate JournalJ Clin Epidemiol