Reporting quality of search methods in systematic reviews of HIV behavioral interventions (2000–2010): are the searches clearly explained, systematic and reproducible?


  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Systematic reviews are an essential tool for researchers, prevention providers and policy makers who want to remain current with the evidence in the field. Systematic review must adhere to strict standards, as the results can provide a more objective appraisal of evidence for making scientific decisions than traditional narrative reviews. An integral component of a systematic review is the development and execution of a comprehensive systematic search to collect available and relevant information. A number of reporting guidelines have been developed to ensure quality publications of systematic reviews. These guidelines provide the essential elements to include in the review process and report in the final publication for complete transparency. We identified the common elements of reporting guidelines and examined the reporting quality of search methods in HIV behavioral intervention literature. Consistent with the findings from previous evaluations of reporting search methods of systematic reviews in other fields, our review shows a lack of full and transparent reporting within systematic reviews even though a plethora of guidelines exist. This review underscores the need for promoting the completeness of and adherence to transparent systematic search reporting within systematic reviews. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.