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Friday 3 July 2015

Shine Journal Club

A mapping review of the literature on UK-focused health and social care databases

Hello All, Please read and post comments for the journal club article below. I will post comments from Knowledge Services next month.  

Objectives: To systematically locate and map, published and unpublished literature on the key UK health and social care bibliographic databases. 

Methods: Systematic searching and mapping.

Results:  Two hundred and forty-two items were identified which specifically related to the 24 of the 34 databases under review.

Conclusion: There is little published or unpublished literature specifically analysing the key UK health and social care databases. Since several UK databases have closed, others are at risk, and some are overlooked in reviews, better information is required to enhance our knowledge. Further research on UK health and social care databases is required. This paper suggests the need to develop the evidence base through a series of case studies on each of the databases.




  • Charis Miller replied on 13 Jul 2015 at 15:19

    We discussed this paper at our journal club in April so I'm casting my mind back( and wishing I'd kept my notes). From what I recall, the methodology was well reported and the list of databases of some interest. Though I wanted them to go into a bit more details about the ones they did find some literature on. Will be interested to see what comes out of this ongoing project next.

  • Siobhan O'Brien replied on 20 Aug 2015 at 08:56

    Thanks Charis, I agree it would have been great to have more detail about the individual databases.

    KSG had our journal club discussion and came up with some potential actions to bring forward from the article, as well as our thoughts on the article. A fairly lengthy post!

    Possible Actions (for SHINE or librarians more widely):
    - How best to raise awareness of possible bias with researchers? Is this a role for SHINE? There is certainly a role for librarians/knowledge brokers to highlight some of the issues raised in this article around awareness of available databases for researchers.

    Possible Actions for KSG:

    -Should we be promoting resources which we don't have subscriptions to (e.g. BNI) but know can be useful for certain audience and can be accessed by those audiences through alternative means?

    -Is there an action around promoting the free databases listed in the article on TKN, and providing additional guidance on the use of databases through TKN? There is potentially an issue around access to content and how much unique content is available via these databases....

    Comments from Knowledge Services at NES:

    -Overall the article is a very useful surfacing tool in terms of the list of health and social care databases available and had a very clear methodology;

    -An interesting mix of included databases - from those that are heavily used databases (e.g. TRIP) to less well used (HMIC), and databases that we weren't previously aware of;

    -Noted it would be useful to have more information about each of the databases, it was suggested that a couple of sentences to describe the content and cost of the databases under review could be a valuable addition to Appendix 3;

    -The article highlights the issue of Research Selection Bias (RSB), and the potential impact this could have on the quality of systematic reviews, particularly in the context of the UK population. It was felt that this was an important point, and that accounting for RSB was the responsibility of librarians and researchers;

    -The detailed further research section is comprehensive, and highlights the gaps in the literature.

    -And finally there were a couple of points raised about how the list of databases under review was generated:

    1. The search strategy is based on the list of databases generated by the review team, and does not allow for additional databases to be discovered e.g. The Knowledge Network is not included, though fits the definition of bibliographic database for inclusion.

    2. There is a mismatch between the number of databases listed for review (33) and the number of databases mapped (29), one particularly relevant example of this is SHINE. We could not see the rationale for this.

    3. The database list includes some representation from Scotland, though nothing Welsh or NI specific, and this could be an issue in terms of missed databases for review. This may have been discussed by the researchers, but no comment was included in the text.

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