Dagnabbit. I spent hours this morning working on a post about inclusion/exclusion criteria, and it disappeared while I was researching some of the links I wanted to include, and updating one of the Google docs. Color me annoyed. Let's hope I can remember at least some of what I wrote.
Here is our GDoc with notes on the inclusion/exclusion criteria: https://docs.google.com/a/umich.edu/document/d/1xETi9WNztVzLBxsyIVak5EHdCUMgP7CcC2B4OxciMDU/edit
1) "Inclusion/exclusion criteria" (in/ex crit) does not mean in our team what it does in a typical systematic review. Why? Because our methodology has us selecting new technologies, not articles. Therefore, we need to select very different types of criteria.
2) At this point in time, we are evolving some of the explicit criteria, but we may not be able to identify all of them until we have worked through this with one or two groups and observed how and where the utilitarian dividing lines tend to appear.
3) In/ex crib usually drive the search limits and inform the search strategy formation. I suspect this may be less true for our question than for others because of the nature of the question and because our methodology, while both systematic and a review, is not a true systematic review (SR).
4) For standard search limits, most SRs commonly use limits on language, age groups, and human/animal. Many also limit to anatomical area, specific methodologies commonly used in the research base for that question, and types of analysis similarly common in that research base. These are less likely to be relevant for our teams, and (I suspect) may be relevant to one subgroup and not another.
Here is an illustration. Since our goal is to identify technologies relevant to medical librarians, many of them may not actually be relevant in clinical use. That means that a limit of "human" would exclude many of the technologies that librarians actually use. However, the subgroup on e-tech in the human body should absolutely use a limit of human. If we apply a limit of human to the base search, we drastically limit the options for the other subgroups.
On the flip side, I would think that by the time any emerging technology has become relevant to medical librarians, it will have been published in English. So perhaps a language limit would make sense at the level of the base search. Similarly, while we haven't yet tested the major journal filters, it would be expected that emerging tech ripe for adoption would be appearing in major journals also, so perhaps we want to test those filters as a possible way to streamline our work. Or maybe not? It might limit things too much.
Does that make sense to anyone else? Can you think of other similar limits we should or shouldn't use with the base search? Or ones we should be testing prior to implementing?
I've been thinking that each subgroup should identify the limits they feel are appropriate for their area. Once we identify the in/ex criteria for each group, we can then identify the overlap (common elements) and whether or not to use all or none or some of those in the basic search. Obviously, limits used in the base search would not need to be repeated in the subgroup searches.
Please react, respond, brainstorm, add questions & thoughts, and poke around in the Google Doc. MANY THANKS!