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Computer Search Report Checklist (CSRC): Project Site

The aim of the CSRC project is to support computer searches, computer search reports (CSR) and the evaluation of CSR.

What is this site ?

This site has been a holding and working space for work that is described below, as well as a place for possibly sharing information on that work.

A bit more on the purpose, site contents, and background is briefly presented below.

Following a poster presentation “Assessing Computer Searches Used for Systematic Reviews” at APA in August, 2015, this site was created on September 5, 2015 to pull together materials developed over a number of years.

The paper associated with the APA presentation is here.

Initial work used the phrase "computer search", and ongoing work began to use the phrase "electronic search".  Working definitions have been in the section on Reproducibility, and on the versions of the CSRC.

Computer Search Report Checklist (CSRC) - Purpose

The CSRC was designed, has been used, and is being developed as a resource for supporting computer searches, computer search reports, and for the evaluation of computer search reports. Of course the evaluation of such reports also contributes to the evaluation of the reviews that they support. 

Computer searches - or "electronic searches" - are used to find information resources that contain substantive content that is analyzed or synthesized to address research questions. Computer search reports document the computer searches used to find those resources.  Increasingly computer search reports are found in and expected for published "literature reviews", and that expectation has been standard for "systematic reviews". New systematic review approaches are also including such reports (e.g., Rapid Reviews, Scoping Reviews, etc.)

Current goals are to pursue development and or explorations with the CSRC. More on a rationale for the CSRC is presented below on this page.

CSRC Project Site Contents List

Sections of this site are listed at the left.  Section content is indicated below.

  • CSRC Project Site This page.
  • Project Background, development, and some ideas for the CSRC.
  • Reproducibility  Information pertaining to using the CSRC to help with assessing the "reproducibility of computer searches".
  • Comprehensiveness Information pertaining to using the CSRC to help with assessing the "comprehensiveness of computer searches".
  • Other Assessment Tools This section will have information on the relation of the CSRC to other tools (e.g. AMSTAR, PRISMA, PRESS).
  • Publication & Presentation Brief listing of presentation and publication activity.
  • Versions This section will have versions of CSRC.
  • Input - Information  Give input. Ideas ?  Suggestions ?  Possibly collaborate.

Do feel free to contact Paul Fehrmann at if you have questions, comments, or recommendations.

Background and basic rationale for the CSRC

As a central form of research that relies on the gathering of background information, literature reviews have been a focus for the CSRC. Literature reviews continue to serve numerous functions, and there are a range of approaches to literature reviewing. There are also a variety of reasons that reviews themselves have to be evaluated, including the need for confidence in the conclusions that are reached in such reviews.

Computer searching is frequently used as a core part of preparation for literature reviews, and so evaluating literature reviews can require evaluation of the computer searching that is used to find materials for the review. Of course, for readers of reviews, evaluating the computer searches depends on what is reported of the computer search.

The CSRC includes items created to evaluate reports of computer searching.

It does seem like this kind of assessment approach can be an important part of an overall strategy for evaluating literature reviews, including "systematic reviews". And expectations are that the value and design of this kind of checklist will benefit from critique and further research.