Advanced Searching Techniques and Advanced Strategy Design*


For more information or to schedule this course, please contact Julie Glanville <>

To explore issues around search design and search techniques for undertaking literature searches of complex topics to inform high quality comparative effectiveness research, systematic reviews, guideline development and other major projects.

This CE event will provide opportunities:

• to review search strategy design approaches;

• to learn new techniques and software tools for developing search strategies;

• to discuss best approaches to search design including search term identification and concept development;

• to share insights into search design for complex questions;

• to assess variations in current best practice.

The course will cover a range of advanced searching issues. The first topic will how to identify search terms when developing search strategies to capture complex questions and will look at the growing number of software tools to assist with search term identification ranging from PubReminer to text analysis software such as Vos viewer. Following a presentation, participants will be involved in discussion and then hands on exercises The next topic will be a review of the value and challenges of search filters. Moving on from search term identification we will review how to structure searches into concepts and address the challenges of conceptual structures beyond PICO for complex topics. Discussion will be followed by exercises. Finally we will review the whole day by looking at peer review of search strategies and conduct peer review exercises of complex questions.

The CE session will include a mix of presentations, group discussions and hands on exercises with specific software tools to develop search strategies.

Learning Objectives

Participants will review their search strategy development practice.

Participants will use search term identification software including PubReminer, Quertle and Vos Viewer.

Participants will undertake peer review of search strategies.

Participants will learn about search filters and search filter resources.

Participants will explore conceptual strategies beyond PICO.


9AM: Introduction to the day

9.15 AM Presentation on how to identify search terms when developing search strategies to capture complex questions; Software tools to assist with search term identification.

10.15 am Group Discussion on best methods of search term identification.

10.45AM Coffee break

11 AM Exercises and discussion : search term identification using software tools such as PubReminer, GoPubMed, Quertle, Vos Viewer

12 NOON Group discussion: using search filters

12.30 Presentation: key issues in the identification and choice of search filters

1 PM Lunch

2PM Group Discussion of methods to structure searches: which concepts to use, beyond PICO

2.15 PM Presentation on structuring searches for complex questions: conceptual breakdown

3.00 PM Exercises: structuring searches

3.30 PM Coffee break

3.45 PM Discussion on structuring searches exercise

4.00 PM Presentation: Peer review of search strategies.

4.30 PM Exercises: peer review of complex searches

5 PM Final discussion and close


Facility Requirements

We will require a computer classroom with internet access. We will need a PC for the presenters and also a flip chart or whiteboard to write on.


MLA CE Credits: 6 or 8