Innovation & Research Practice

Paper: Research Abstract

Reshaping Evidence-Based Practice with Real-World Evidence: Opportunities and Challenges for Librarians/Information Specialists

Tuesday, May 7
5:05 PM - 5:20 PM
Room: Columbus EF (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Objectives : The use of real world evidence (RWE) to inform evidence-based practice and decision making is playing an increasingly important role in evidence syntheses. Since librarians are at the front lines of retrieving evidence, this scoping review will evaluate search methodologies used in order to locate RWE studies in systematic reviews and the level of involvement from librarians.

Methods : The research team incorporated the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) checklist (1) to increase the transparency of the reporting method for this scoping review. Searches were conducted in Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, and Web of Science for systematic reviews using real world studies. Non-English language publications were excluded. Two independent reviewers screened search results and abstracted the relevant data. Information about the sources searched, search terms and strategies used, and librarian involvement were all examined and narratively synthesised. A total of 361 articles were retrieved and 46 articles met the inclusion criteria for data extraction. One librarian extracted the data while a second librarian verified the work. Conflicts were resolved until consensus was reached.



1 Tricco AC, Lillie E, Zarin W, et al. PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and Explanation. Annals of Internal Medicine. September 2018. doi:10.7326/M18-0850.

Results : Of the 46 included studies, no consistent definition of RWE was used. 59% of studies were funded by industries and drug companies. The majority of reviews searched Embase, Cochrane, Pubmed, and MEDLINE for RWE. Only 46% of studies used keywords related to RWE and 24% of studies used subject headings to retrieve RWE. Librarian involvement in these reviews was minimal.

Conclusions : Overall, the searches were not well reported. Based on the studies reviewed, developing a search filter to identify RWE would be difficult and complex due to the inconsistency of how RWE is defined and the breadth of RWD. Since few librarians were involved in the systematic reviews, future RWE studies may benefit from having expert searchers on the team.

Janice Y. Kung

Public Services Librarian
John W. Scott Health Sciences Library, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Janice Kung is a Public Services Librarian from the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta. As liaison librarian to the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and departments within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, she is passionate about instruction and evidence-based practice.

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Dagmara Chojecki

Information Specialist/Librarian
University of Alberta/Institute of Health Economics
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Dagmara Chojecki is a health research librarian with a joint appointment at the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta and at the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her role includes conducting comprehensive literature searches for health technology assessments (HTAs) and systematic reviews, teaching and providing laison services to History of Medicine students and faculty and researching best practices in information retrieval methodology.

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Lisa Tjosvold

IHE Research Librarian
Institute of Health Economics
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Lisa Tjosvold, MLIS, is an information specialist with the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton, Canada, where she conducts comprehensive literature searches for systematic reviews and health technology assessments (HTAs). She also holds a joint position as a research librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries’ John W. Scott Health Sciences Library, where she provides teaching and liaison services to the School of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene. Lisa has been conducting literature searches for systematic reviews and HTAs since 2002 and her research interests include how to implement best practices in information retrieval.

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