Pearl Harvesting Comprehensive Search Filtersfor searching research literature

created byDr. Robert Sandieson,
Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Brief Instructions on how to use this wiki

Campbell Collaboration Workshop on Pearl Harvesting, Belfast, Ireland, June 2017

  • The Premise:
Information retrieval is an act of communication between the information seeker, author(s), and database indexer(s).
  • Searching, then, is a linguistic task
  • Two linguistic properties apply to developing comprehensive searches without compromising precision
  • 1. Co-reference
    • one topic can be represented by more than one term; often many terms
    • e.g., research synthesis, systematic review, literature review
    • applied to searching - using more terms in a search can retrieve more information
  • 2. Polysemy
    • a single term can have many specific meanings
    • e.g., “review” is a polysemic term
    • polysemic terms are low in search precision
    • they can be converted to phrases with more precise meanings with more precise searches
    • e.g., review => “systematic review” OR “quantitative review” OR ”qualitative review”

  • Lists of co-referenced terms, i.e., comprehensive search filters, can be copied and pasted into the search fields of databases.
  • The list of comprehensive search filters presented here have been developed by those working with the Pearl Harvesting Theory but also include search filters developed by others.

IMPACT: Pearl Harvesting comprehensive search filters are used internationally - as reported by: 31 organizations and universities, 21 graduate theses,12 published systematic review protocols, and 19 journal articles/books/conference presentations. This wiki has been viewed by over 25,000 people from over 50 countries.