Appraisal of: McKinlay RJ, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for detecting cost and economic studies in EMBASE. BMC Health Serv Res 2006;6:67.
McKinlay RJ, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB, Hedges Team. Optimal search strategies for detecting cost and economic studies in EMBASE. BMC Health Serv Res 2006;6:67.
This study reported the development of a search strategy for cost and economics studies in Embase. The gold standard was created by handsearching 55 journals for the year 2000. The authors provide strategies to find studies about costs and about economic studies broadly defined. A cost strategy with a sensitivity of 100% and precision of 8.6% is presented along with an economic studies strategy of 100% with 1.4 % precision. Best compromise strategies are offered for costs (sensitivity 98.4% and precision 18.2%) and economics (sensitivity 96.8% and precision 4.3%)
Limitations stated by the author(s):
Precision will be lower when searching the entire Embase database. Multivariate statistical techniques might yield better performing strategies but authors did test a logistic regression approach.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s):
55 journals were chosen for frequency of yield and these may be different to the wider range of journals which publish cost and economics studies. The handsearched records are for one year only. High impact factor journal were chosen and these may be different to other journals perhaps in terms of encouraging better study reporting. The authors have a broad definition of economics which means their strategy may not be optimized to find economic evaluations.
Costs and economic evaluation