Strike a balance

When you cast a wide net with a very broad search, you will almost always end up with lots of irrelevant studies.

Time and resources can limit your ability to screen through and identify the correct studies, so it is important to strike a balance between sensitivity and specificity when you’re designing your search. This is another case where a librarian can help you create the best approach.

It’s common to start with a search that is as broad as possible. Then, if the number of articles that fit that search is too overwhelming, you can narrow your strategy. We’ll talk about how to do that on the next page.