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J Clin Epidemiol. 2014 May;67(5):547-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.07.022. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

An efficient strategy allowed English-speaking reviewers to identify foreign-language articles eligible for a systematic review.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, HSC-2U1, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1; Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1; The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care, McMaster University, MDCL 2101, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1. Electronic address: bussejw@mcmaster.ca.
  • 2Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Pkwy, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2.
  • 3School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, 1400 Main St. W., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 1C7.
  • 4Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 6100 Leslie St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2H 3J1.
  • 5German Hospital, 1640 Pueyrred√≥n, C1118 AAT, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 6Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1; Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, The Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park, 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8P 0A1.
  • 7Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, HSC-2U1, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1; Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1; Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, 1265 Welch Road, Stanford, California, USA 94305; Department of Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.
  • 8Department of orthopaedic surgery, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 9Ontario Chiropractic Association, 20 Victoria St., Suite 200 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 2N8.
  • 10Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 6100 Leslie St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2H 3J1; Canadian Chiropractic Association, 186 Spadina Avenue, Suite 6, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 3B2.
  • 11University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, 1 King's College Circle Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8.
  • 12The Institute for Work & Health, 8th floor, 481 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2E9; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 6th floor, 155 College St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 3M7.
  • 13The Institute for Work & Health, 8th floor, 481 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2E9.
  • 14Restorative Health, 12 William St W, Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada K7A 1M9.
  • 15Jointworks Chiropractic Inc., 3860 Main St, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5V 3N9.
  • 16Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Plummer 3-35, Rochester, MN, USA 55905.
  • 17Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, HSC-2U1, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess English-speaking reviewers' accuracy in determining the eligibility of foreign-language articles for a systematic review.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTINGS:

Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of therapy for fibromyalgia. Guided by 10 questions, English-speaking reviewers screened non-English-language articles for eligibility. Teams of two native-language speakers provided reference standard judgments of eligibility.

RESULTS:

Of 15,466 potentially eligible articles, we retrieved 763 in full text, of which 133 were published in 19 non-English languages; 53 trials published in 11 languages other than English proved eligible. Of the 53 eligible articles, English-language reviewers guided by the 10 questions mistakenly judged 6 as ineligible; of the 80 ineligible articles, 8 were incorrectly judged eligible by English-language reviewers (sensitivity=0.89; specificity=0.90). Use of a simple three-step rule (excluding languages with less than three articles, reviewing titles and abstracts for clear indications of eligibility, and noting the lack of a clearly reported statistical analysis unless the word "random" appears) led to accurate classification of 51 of 53 articles (sensitivity=0.96; specificity=0.70).

CONCLUSION:

Our findings show promise for limiting the need for non-English-language review teams in systematic reviews with large numbers of potentially eligible non-English-language articles.

KEYWORDS:

Bias; English-language bias; Fibromyalgia; Language of publication; Methodology; Systematic review

PMID:
24613496
DOI:
10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.07.022
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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