Search Methods

Campbell systematic reviews present a quality comprehensive overview of the available evidence both through the quality of the methods involved and by following strict editorial guidelines. Just as authors seek to reduce bias at each stage of the review process, so too does the editorial board by not relying on one peer reviewer for Campbell protocols and reviews. Peer review assesses the quality of a systematic review before it is published through the Campbell Collaboration website/ Wiley. Campbell systematic reviews go through rigorous peer-review usually involving two content experts, one information retrieval expert, one method expert, and the editorial team who will liaise directly with the review authors. Search peer- review The search strategy is an important part of a systematic review as the conclusions drawn are based on the included body of evidence. Therefore, it is imperative that an expert in the science of information retrieval ensures that each search strategy published in Campbell reviews is of a consistently high standard and free from bias. Submitted protocols and reviews will be reviewed by one information retrieval expert who is asked to evaluate whether the search strategies employed are sound and coherent to fulfil the research objectives. Information retrieval experts should also assess whether the review duplicates already published work and whether the search methods are sufficiently clear for publication. The search retrieval expert should then feed this back to the editors who will reach a final decision to reject, revise and resubmit (minor or major), or accept. Guidance and documents Information retrieval specialists should first read and understand three important documents when completing a peer review of search methods.

  1. Searching for studies: a guide to information retrieval for Campbell systematic reviews
  2. the Methodological expectations of Campbell Collaboration intervention reviews: Conduct standards
  3. Methodological expectations of Campbell Collaboration intervention reviews: Reporting standards Finally, search strategies for Campbell reviews should be appraised using the checklist attached to the end of this document. This document is currently being updated by Campbell’s Information Retrieval Methods Group. However, search peer-reviewers should continue to use the older checklist until the update is complete.
Ciara Keenan
Ciara Keenan
Research Fellow

My research interests include systematic reviews, meta-analyses, race, ethnicity, diversity, homelessness, disability, vulnerable and marginalised groups, post conflict society.