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Methods for conducting systematic reviews of risk factors in low- and middle-income countries

Shenderovich, Yulia, Eisner, Manuel, Mikton, Christopher, Gardner, Frances, Liu, Jianghong and Murray, Joseph 2016. Methods for conducting systematic reviews of risk factors in low- and middle-income countries. BMC Medical Research Methodology 16 , 32. 10.1186/s12874-016-0134-2

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Abstract

Background Rates of youth violence are disproportionately high in many low- and middle-income countries [LMICs] but existing reviews of risk factors focus almost exclusively on high-income countries. Different search strategies, including non-English language searches, might be required to identify relevant evidence in LMICs. This paper discusses methodological issues in systematic reviews aiming to include evidence from LMICs, using the example of a recent review of risk factors for child conduct problems and youth violence in LMICs. Methods We searched the main international databases, such as PsycINFO, Medline and EMBASE in English, as well as 12 regional databases in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. In addition, we used internet search engines and Google Scholar, and contacted over 200 researchers and organizations to identify potentially eligible studies in LMICs. Results The majority of relevant studies were identified in the mainstream databases, but additional studies were also found through regional databases, such as CNKI, Wangfang, LILACS and SciELO. Overall, 85 % of eligible studies were in English, and 15 % were reported in Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian or French. Among eligible studies in languages other than English, two-thirds were identified only by regional databases and one-third was also indexed in the main international databases. Conclusions There are many studies on child conduct problems and youth violence in LMICs which have not been included in prior reviews. Most research on these subjects in LMICs has been produced in the last two-three decades and mostly in middle-income countries, such as China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Russia. Based on our findings, it appears that many studies of child conduct problems and youth violence in LMICs are reported in English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese, but few such studies are published in French, Arabic or Russian. If non-English language searches and screening had not been conducted in the current review, 15 % of eligible studies would have been missed. Although there are benefits to non-English language searches and the inclusion of non-English studies in meta-analyses, systematic reviewers also need to consider the resources required to incorporate multi-lingual research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1471-2288
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 10 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 May 2021 15:15
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/140639

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