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Sensitivity & Specificity: demonstrating finding evidence using MeSH thesaurus terms Author: Gary Clough Added on Sep 19, 2019 Duration: 0:10:19 The concepts of sensitivity and specificity, as they apply to a database search strategy, refers to doing a wide search for evidence or a narrower one. A wide or sensitive search strategy will aim to retrieve a larger number of results relevant to your topic of interest. It will be more time consuming and will involve more work screening out irrelevant results. A sensitive search is more likely to be used for knowledge support eg producing a publishable systematic review or a substantial report. A more narrow or specific search is one that seeks to find some representative results for decision support where timely evidence is a priority eg creating a quick report for discussion on a topic or informing a patient’s need for a review of their medication. Thesaurus terms such as MeSH for Medline refers to the indexing system unique to each database you might use. PubMed is a host platform for Medline so that it uses MeSH terms. These terms are highly recommended for use when creating a search where they are found to be appropriate. The more closely their meaning matches concepts within your enquiry topic the more specificity you can introduce into your search.  

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