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Step 6 - Evaluating your search results
Once you have finished searching you are going to evaluate the search results. Do the articles you found cover your research question? Although you have searched carefully, it may be necessary to re-define your search strategy. Maybe you have found too many or too few articles or not relevant enough.
Too many results?
- Use more specific search terms
Take a look in the MeSH database if an underlying term better suits your research question.
- Add an extra element to your research question and combine it with AND with your search result.
- Use filters.
See: tab 'Step 5 - Filters & Clinical queries'.
Not enough results?
- Use broader search terms.
Look in the MeSH-database for an above lying term.
- Broaden your research question with variations of your search terms (i.e.: cancer OR neoplasm).
- Broaden your research question by using word variations (i.e.: neoplasm OR neoplastic).
- Broaden your research question by truncation (i.e. : neoplas*).
- Broaden your research question by leaving out an element.
If you are not sure of the outcome (O), do not use it.
- Remove a filter.
- Check your search terms for the correct combination with OR/AND.
- Check the spelling.
Too much noise?
- Check if you have correctly divided your research question in PICO-elements or building blocks
- Leave out search terms that do not provide you with relevant articles
- Check if OR / AND have been used correctly
- Check the right truncation
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