The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group

The Cochrane Systematic Review course 16 – 19th June 2015

Course poster 2014

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Cochrane through the eyes of Google Trends

The Lancet Logo BW

The Lancet Logo BW (Photo credit: ColaLife)

By Lewis Timimi, Work Experience at CSzG

Google is used so frequently and widely across the world that it has, in recent years, become a great tool for monitoring public interest. Jumping on the back of this, Google launched its own free service, which publishes a range statistics on popular Google searches, called Google Trends. Using Google Trends, it’s possible to see how interest in a specific subject has changed, worldwide, over almost 10 years (data starts from 2004). But can Google Trends tell us anything about online interest in Cochrane?

Well, we searched for a range of different Cochrane related phrases through Google Trends. The results were pretty consistent. They showed a steady decline in the number of searches for Cochrane, both across the UK and worldwide. In fact, searches for “Cochrane library” had decreased by around 75% since the start of 2004. It doesn’t sound too good. Read the rest of this entry »

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China; a research superpower, but we could be left in dark

By Rebecca Syed, Research Fellow at King’s College London and an Editor for the CSzG

Over the past 25 years we have seen an explosion in top-level clinical trials in China. But only a tiny proportion of that research is available on the main databases used by doctors and researchers in the UK, Australia and the US. It means we could be missing out on evidence for potential medical breakthroughs.

There have been some high-profile cases in China of dodgy research, such as one poorly conducted trial (that didn’t even have ethical approval), but the Chinese have taken steps to improve research integrity. And we have to recognise research misconduct as a global issue.

I conducted a survey of low to middle-income countries randomised control trials in mental health. These studies are modelled very carefully and considered the gold standard of evidence for medical treatments. The survey involved laboriously hand searching databases in each region and in each language. Pretty dry stuff but as it turns out, very important. In China they increased by more than seven times between 1991 and 2000. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Google a reliable tool for trial searches?

By Beth Adams, Work Experience at CSzG

There are around 91 million Google searches done across the world each day. So it’s needless to say it’s a huge part of day to day life, as well as the “go to” place for information. But when we search, can we just presume we are seeing all the possible results?

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

English: Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To test Google’s reliability, we set out to investigate the yield of search terms across all Google search engines.

We selected 11 phrases, chosen for relevance, currency, and possible controversial connotations including, ‘randomized’ and ‘randomized and schizophrenia’ for the theme of randomized trials, to have both a general and specific search. Then, we searched each phrase on the 137 Google sites across the world on the same day (7th – 8th July 2013). This allowed us to record the number of results on each of the sites to work out the comparative percentages.  You’d expect them to be consistent and reliable, but were they? Read the rest of this entry »

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Day 4: Solving the review puzzle and pulling it all together for your fans

Everyone’s a little sleepy after the course meal and chatting deep into the night over a glass of wine.  Yesterday’s topics were heavy, the heaviest of the four days in fact.  Today is all about the write up, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to create a manageable picture for the public as well as clinicians (or whoever your consumers are); the pieces being everything from the previous three days – setting the topic, searching and statistics.

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Part of the ‘pulling together’ involves summaries, lots of summaries in table, text and stats form to make your discoveries legible for members of the public.  This is one of the most important things to keep in mind.  How else do we get the people we are aiming to raise the awareness and knowledge of to read our reviews? Read the rest of this entry »

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