A pragmatic critical appraisal instrument for search filters: introducing the CADTH CAI

Health Info Libr J. 2009 Sep;26(3):211-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2008.00830.x.


Objective: To identify or develop a critical appraisal instrument (CAI) to aid in the selection of search filters for use in systematic review searching. The CAI is to be used by experienced searchers without specialized training in statistics or search filter design.

Methods: Through extensive searching and consultation, one candidate instrument was identified. Through expert consultation and several rounds of testing, the instrument was extensively revised to become the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) CAI.

Results: The CADTH CAI consists of ten questions and can be applied by experienced searchers with a moderate knowledge of search filter methodology.

Conclusion: The CADTH CAI provides experienced searchers with a means of selecting the search filter that is most methodologically sound.

MeSH terms

  • Abstracting and Indexing / methods*
  • Bibliography of Medicine
  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychometrics
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Subject Headings*
  • Terminology as Topic*