A comparison of handsearching versus Chinese BioMedical (CBM) database searching to identify reports of randomized controlled trials

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Zhang M, Ai C, Duan Y, Wiffen P

Background: The Cochrane highly sensitive search strategy (HSSS) can identify about 80% of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in MEDLINE. No related research exists on how to identify RCTs in Chinese databases. Objective: To compare handsearching to a CBM search to identify RCTs by using the Cochrane HSSS that was translated into Chinese. Methods: A total of 10 leading Chinese journals relevant to surgery, internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics and traditional Chinese medicine between 2003 and 2005 were handsearched for randomized trials by two reviewers independently. We then translated the Cochrane HSSS into Chinese to identify RCTs in the CBM database. The sensitivity and precision of identifying RCTs in each journal using different search strategies was calculated. Results: All results are shown in Table 1. Conclusion: HSSS can identify 75% of RCTs in western medicine journals in CBM. Systematic review authors related to western medicine can choose HSSS to identify RCTs in CBM.