Susan - I actually take a simpler approach working with students and faculty for searching for systematic reviews that my faculty seem to like.  Rather then building a complex search I encourage them to take advantage of the related articles feature of PubMed.  I have attached a guide to Pubmed searching I have developed titled 5 Easy Steps to Search Pubmed  -  it seems to be effective.

Michael Kronenfeld
University Librarian
A.T. Still Memorial Library
A.T. Still U. of the Health Sciences
5850 E. Still Circle
Mesa, AZ  85206
(480) 219-6091
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On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM, Susan Fowler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
In my work on systematic reviews, I am being faced with people asking me to teach them how to create advanced search strategies. The reasons are various, some want to create the advanced search strategies themselves and not have a librarian on their project, most want to understand the process better so they can get their hands in it. When they get directly involved with editing the searches I have to be extra vigilant about catching errors and it can be hard to catch someone else's errors - I have my own work flow in creating strategies set up as to avoid such errors from happening at all because I have already gone through the heartache that can be caused by missing a boolean operator or leaving in an apostrophe. These requests have really left me in a quandary... 


First, I have no idea how to teach non-librarians to do it. After 4 years I am still learning and finding mistakes myself - often they are mistakes I wind up sniffing out just because something doesn't feel right - call it a spidy/librarian sense. And it can take a lot of time to track it down to. It takes more time and expertise to teach then it does to do - a level of expertise I just don't feel I have. So, I don't actually feel comfortable teaching non-librarians. 


Second, is it a reasonable expectation that people, not just the occasional exceptional person but people, without the education and background in library science can learn this? If not, how do you say that without sounding like you are putting someone down? If it is reasonable, are there some basics that need to be taught first? What are those basics? What kind of time should we be expecting? 

Already Being Done?

Is anyone aware of books or classes that actually teach, step by step, how to create complex search strategies? Are there syllabi or programs?

Anyone Else? 

Is anyone else having this happen and if so, how are they handling it? 



Susan Fowler, MLIS
Medical Librarian

Evidence at Becker:

Mobile Resources Guide:

Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
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