Evidence-based searching: using Search Summary Tables to update Evidence and Gap Maps. Two case studies.

Session Type
Oral presentation
Information retrieval
Rogers M1, Bethel A1
1University of Exeter, UK

Background: Evidence and Gap Maps (EGMs) are a visual representation of the available evidence relevant to a specific research or topic area. The studies that populate EGMs are identified using robust systematic search methods, usually across several databases, using a variety of search methods. To remain current and useful, EGMs should be updated at intervals to reflect the current literature landscape. Search Summary Tables (SSTs) produced at the end of the initial search process can help to streamline the update process by identifying which methods and resources are the most valuable for any given topic
Objectives:To demonstrate the usefulness of SSMs in updating evidence reviews through two case studies using EGMs
Methods:SSTs were produced for two unrelated EGMs; peer support interventions and intergenerational activities. The SSTs were used to determine: 1. which databases returned the most included studies, 2. which returned unique studies 3. which databases returned no useful studies 4. which databases returned the most robust evidence 5. the value of supplementary search methods
Results:Analysis of the SSTs for both projects indicate the value of a small selection of databases in returning randomised controlled trials, qualitative studies, and unique hits. In the peer support interventions project, forward citation chasing was a valuable supplementary search method. For the intergenerational activities project, backwards citation chasing was lucrative, together with hand-searching specific journal titles
Conclusions: The two case studies demonstrate the value in using SSTs to accompany EGMs, in particular ‘living’ EGMs to streamline the update process, and to ensure that choices about resources in systematic searching are evidence-based.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Both EGMs involved public input, but this study, which was an analysis of the resources used, was carried out by information specialists alone.