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BMC Med Res Methodol. 2016 Jan 5;16:1. doi: 10.1186/s12874-015-0105-z.

Creating a literature database of low-calorie sweeteners and health studies: evidence mapping.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. deenawang@gmail.com.
2
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. Marissa.Shams_White@tufts.edu.
3
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. oliver-john.bright@tufts.edu.
4
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Rutgers University School of Health Related Professions, Newark, NJ, USA. parrotja@shrp.rutgers.edu.
5
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. Mei_Chun.Chung@tufts.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Evidence mapping is an emerging tool used to systematically identify, organize and summarize the quantity and focus of scientific evidence on a broad topic, but there are currently no methodological standards. Using the topic of low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) and selected health outcomes, we describe the process of creating an evidence-map database and demonstrate several example descriptive analyses using this database.

METHODS:

The process of creating an evidence-map database is described in detail. The steps include: developing a comprehensive literature search strategy, establishing study eligibility criteria and a systematic study selection process, extracting data, developing outcome groups with input from expert stakeholders and tabulating data using descriptive analyses. The database was uploaded onto SRDR™ (Systematic Review Data Repository), an open public data repository.

RESULTS:

Our final LCS evidence-map database included 225 studies, of which 208 were interventional studies and 17 were cohort studies. An example bubble plot was produced to display the evidence-map data and visualize research gaps according to four parameters: comparison types, population baseline health status, outcome groups, and study sample size. This plot indicated a lack of studies assessing appetite and dietary intake related outcomes using LCS with a sugar intake comparison in people with diabetes.

CONCLUSION:

Evidence mapping is an important tool for the contextualization of in-depth systematic reviews within broader literature and identifies gaps in the evidence base, which can be used to inform future research. An open evidence-map database has the potential to promote knowledge translation from nutrition science to policy.

PMID:
26728979
PMCID:
PMC4700619
DOI:
10.1186/s12874-015-0105-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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