Available Until 12/31/2025

Advanced Search Strategy Design for Complex Topics: Strategy Development Including Text Mining*

Check the SRSS catalog and watch for announcements for the next scheduled offering.

Learn advanced techniques for designing and structuring search strategies for systematic reviews and other major search projects that address complex topics. Learn about advanced text mining techniques and be able to address issues associated with documenting and reporting complex searches.

The course begins with readings and reflection questions available upon registration. You’ll have homework and discussion questions between sessions and opportunities for discussion and questions of instructors after the second session.

This course is an approved elective for Level I of the Systematic Review Services Specialization.

Attendance maximum: 20

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply the PICO structure as appropriate

  • Apply non-PICO structures as appropriate

  • Explain how text mining techniques can help in building search strategies

  • Discuss the role of search translation tools and methods to identify key documents to inform search strategy development

  • Document and report searches for complex topics


Participants should have basic knowledge of databases (Boolean operators, thesaurus (MeSH) terms and syntax) and experience in searching databases, such as MEDLINE/PubMed.


Julie Glaville, MCLIP

Julie Glanville, MCLIP, is an independent information consultant focusing on advice, training, and research in information retrieval and strategy design. She is also co-manager of the SuRe Info resource and the ISSG Search Filters Resource. Julie was previously the Associate Director of the York Health Economics Consortium (2008-2020) and of the UK's Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (1994 - 2008). She is a qualified librarian and has worked in the field of systematic reviews since 1993. She is a co-author of the Cochrane Handbook chapter on searching for studies and has contributed to the development of systematic review guidance for several organizations, including the UK's Centre for Reviews and Dissemination and the European Food Safety Authority.

Carol Lefebvre, HonFCLIP, is an independent information consultant, focusing on training, consultancy, and research since setting up her company in 2012. Before that she was the Senior Information Specialist at the UK Cochrane Centre based in Oxford, UK, where she was involved in the founding of Cochrane in 1992. She is a qualified librarian and worked for 7 years as the Deputy Librarian at the University of Oxford Medical School Library before joining Cochrane. She is Lead Convenor of the Cochrane Information Retrieval Methods Group, lead author of the searching for and selecting studies chapter of the Cochrane Handbook and a member of the SuRe Info Steering Group.

Carol and Julie have been teaching together since the mid-1990s, focusing on information retrieval to support systematic reviews and other evidence syntheses. They have taught continuing education courses at MLA annual meetings since 2014.

Registration Information

  • Length: Two part course that includes (2) 2.5 hour live instructor-led sessions + practice lessons
  • Dates of Instructor-Led Sessions: November 3 & November 17, 2020, 10:00am–12:30pm, Central Time
  • Technical information: Go to MY Learning in MEDLIB-ED to access the course, live sessions, resources, evaluation and certificate.
  • Register, participate, and earn 8 MLA continuing education (CE) contact hours.

MLA CE Credits: 6