Handsearching involves searching through journals and conference proceedings for relevant trials and studies that have not been included in major electronic databases.
While some journals covering public health interventions have been handsearched by Cochrane Review Groups, there are many potentially relevant trials and other studies not included on Cochrane registers because most health promotion and public health journals (and other sources) are currently not periodically searched. Some journals have been searched as part of other initiatives that have links with our Group.
If you would like to offer help with handsearching, this could mean taking a year of one journal and extracting all intervention trials (and other studies?). It may also be worthwhile to identify relevant conferences and to scan their proceedings if available. We would aim to obtain one paper copy of each article. Access to the journals and costs of obtaining a copy of the articles could potentially be covered by the Group if necessary. The register of these trials would then be made available on our specialized registry and individual reviewers to conduct searches for appropriate studies.
In 2003, the Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field was allocated Australian Commonwealth funding to identify issues involved in searching for health promotion and public health studies and to develop and trial a handsearching strategy. An issues paper , entitled "Minimising publication and publication-related biases in systematic reviews: Locating 'difficult to find' public health and health promotion intervention studies" was later released informing the progress of the Group's handsearching activity.
The Field later developed and implemented a pilot study to recruit and support handsearchers around the world to identify health promotion and public health trials and systematic reviews. All handsearchers involved in the project provided valuable feedback on the handsearching materials developed. This has resulted in the development of core training materials for the Field and a useful information document (see below) which was developed further by the SURE team at Cardiff University, with assistance from the EPPI Centre in London
Relevant Publications for Handsearchers
If you would like to become involved in handsearching please contact Ruth Turley: firstname.lastname@example.org