Validation of an interprofessional education search strategy in PubMed to optimize IPE literature searching




interprofessional education, search hedge validation, relative recall, systematic reviews as topic


Objective: With exponential growth in the publication of interprofessional education (IPE) research studies, it has become more difficult to find relevant literature and stay abreast of the latest research. To address this gap, we developed, evaluated, and validated search strategies for IPE studies in PubMed, to improve future access to and synthesis of IPE research. These search strategies, or search hedges, provide comprehensive, validated sets of search terms for IPE publications.

1BMethods: The search strategies were created for PubMed using relative recall methodology. The research methods followed the guidance of previous search hedge and search filter validation studies in creating a gold standard set of relevant references using systematic reviews, having expert searchers identify and test search terms, and using relative recall calculations to validate the searches’ performance against the gold standard set.

2BResults: The three recommended search hedges for IPE studies presented had recall of 71.5%, 82.7%, and 95.1%; the first more focused for efficient literature searching, the last with high recall for comprehensive literature searching, and the remaining hedge as a middle ground between the other two options.

3BConclusion: These validated search hedges can be used in PubMed to expedite finding relevant scholarships, staying up to date with IPE research, and conducting literature reviews and evidence syntheses.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Health Sciences Librarian and Liaison to the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

Sophie Nachman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Graduate Assistant, Health Sciences Library; Master of Public Health student, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Lisa de Saxe Zerden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC

Nandita Mani, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dean of University Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA


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Original Investigation