CALL FOR PAPERS: Research Synthesis Methods special issue: Innovation in
Information Retrieval Methods for Evidence Synthesis

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Editors: Hannah Rothstein and Ian Schrier


Guest Editors:

Suzy Paisley

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield (
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Margaret Foster

Libraries, Texas A&M University ([log in to unmask])

Deadline for submissions: 28th February 2017

The editors and guest editors of Research Synthesis Methods invite
submissions for a special issue on information retrieval methods.

Background to special issue

Information retrieval methods for evidence synthesis face a number of
challenges resulting from the environment within which evidence synthesis
studies are undertaken and from the latest developments in information

Evidence based practice is being adopted in an ever widening scope of
fields including public health, veterinary medicine, education, social care
and criminal justice. Review questions are wide-ranging and increasingly
complex. Decision makers require timely access to evidence that is fit for
the purpose of decision-making and that addresses a range of issues beyond
‘does this intervention work?’ The definition of evidence is increasingly
varied in design, format and location. The portfolio of evidence synthesis
methods has grown and diversified beyond systematic reviews of structured,
focussed questions to encompass different approaches to quantitative,
qualitative and mixed methods evidence synthesis. In the wider context,
advancements in information technology are transforming the ways in which
information is organised and accessed. Harnessing these developments
provides both challenging and exciting opportunities for information
retrieval methods. All of these factors have implications for the methods
by which we search for, retrieve and curate the evidence-base for evidence
synthesis studies.

Objectives of special issue

To advance information retrieval methods to address the challenges of
searching in increasingly complex evidence synthesis and information
landscapes. To introduce researchers and practitioners to the latest
innovative methods and practice in information retrieval for evidence

Scope of papers (including but not limited to):

●     Searching for evidence on complex topics

●     Different evidence synthesis types (e.g. qualitative synthesis,
Bayesian synthesis, decision-analytic models)

●     Different review types (e.g. rapid reviews, mapping reviews)

●     Complex search environment and evidence formats (e.g. grey
literature, scattered information, web-searching, identifying datasets and
other non-standard information formats)

●     Searching in different fields (e.g. public health, veterinary
medicine, education, social care and criminal justice)

●     Harnessing advances in information technology (e.g. text mining,
living systematic reviews)

●     Efficient searching

●     Assessing the quality of searching (e.g. alternative measures to

●     Managing and reporting the search process (e.g. data management of
the search process)

Case studies that are restricted to a single application of an innovative
approach should demonstrate how they relate to the broader advancement of
information retrieval methods for evidence synthesis.

Deadline for submissions

The deadline for papers to be considered for this special issue is 28
February 2017. All papers will undergo the standard masked peer review
process and must meet the standards of the RSM Editorial Policy Statement:

Potential authors may contact the guest editors for more details.

Yours truly

Suzy Paisley and Margaret Foster

Guest Editors

Suzy Paisley

ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research), University of Sheffield

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Margaret Foster

Libraries, Texas A&M University

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Margaret J. Foster '98, MS, MPH, AHIP

Systematic Reviews and Research Coordinator

Associate Professor, Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University

Joint Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Community
Health Sciences, Texas A&M Health Sciences Center School of Public Health

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Mailstop 4462 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-4462

Tel. 979.862.1893 | Fax. 979.458.0112