Vaikuttavuus tiedonhauissa – hakusanojen pohdintaa | How to search effectiveness?

(Please, scroll down to read in English.)

Koulutuksen vaikuttavuus, tutkimuksen vaikuttavuus, sote-palvelujen vaikuttavuus, hoidon vaikuttavuus, sosiaalityön vaikuttavuus ym. teemat näkyvät opiskelijoidemme ja tutkijoidemme tiedonhakujen aiheissa. Vaikuttavuuden tutkimuksen päiviä 2021 kuuntelimme ja mietimme taas tiedonhakua.

Effectiveness

Vaikuttavuutta ei useinkaan löydy hakemalla sanalla vaikuttavuus (effectiveness). Sana ei välttämättä esiinny dokumentissa, julkaisussa, tutkimuksessa, vaikka vaikuttavuutta olisikin tutkittu. Tai tuloksiin tulee enimmäkseen kustannusvaikuttavuutta (cost-effectiveness), mikä toki on myös entistä tärkeämpi näkökulma.

Vaikuttavuus voidaan ajatella muutoksena, jonka jokin toimenpide, palvelu tms. saa aikaan esimerkikksi elämänlaadussa, hyvinvoinnissa, terveydessä, toimintakyvyssä tai tyytyväisyydessä. Vaikuttavuus on tavoitteiden suuntaan vaikuttamista.

Effects, impact, outcomes…

Jos tietoa ei vaikuttavuus-sanalla löydy tarpeeksi, joutuu laajentamaan tiedonhakua, miettimään muita ja vaihtoehtoisia hakusanoja. Kaikesta huolimatta kannattaa kokeilla hakea myös vaikutuksilla (effects, impact, outcomes…) tai arvioinnilla (evaluation).

Measures, intervention…

Vaikuttavuuden yhteydessä puhutaan myös mittareista, mutta measure ja measurement toimivat huonosti hakusanoina. Toimisivatko instrument, scale, tools, questionnaire ja muut menetelmäsanat paremmin?

Ja mitä on interventio? Intervention-sanakaan ei välttämättä esiinny artikkelissa, tutkimuksessa. Se voi olla vaikka tukea, ohjausta tai neuvontaa, esimerkiksi ravitsemusneuvonta, työllistymiskokeilu, digitaalinen oppimisympäristö, verkkopohjainen synnytysvalmennus riippuen tutkimuksesta.

Kattavat tiedonhaut, katsausten tiedonhaut…

Useimmiten on mietittävä, mitä vaikuttavuus on juuri kyseisessä tutkimusongelmassa. Minkä asioiden muutos kuvaa toimenpiteen, intervention, palvelun tai muun sellaisen vaikuttavuutta? Mitkä sanat kuvaavat aihekokonaisuutta ja miten hakusanoja keskenään yhdistellään?

Väheneekö esimerkiksi kiusaaminen?
Esimerkki
Gaffney, H., Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2021). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying perpetration and victimization: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 17(2), e1143. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1143
Haut appendix A:ssa, tehty useana erillisenä hakuna. Ne voisi olla myös näin:
“anti-bully*” AND program* AND (effect* OR outcome* OR evaluation)
bully* AND school* AND (intervention* OR prevent* OR program*)

Väheneekö esimerkiksi päihteiden käyttö?
Esimerkki
McGovern, R., Newham, J. J., Addison, M. T., Hickman, M., & Kaner, E. (2021). Effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for reducing parental substance misuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3) doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012823.pub2
Haut liitteessä

P.S. MOT Kielipalvelu antaa vaikuttavuuden käännökseksi sanan impressiveness, mutta sehän on aivan muuta vaikuttavuutta. (to impress = tehdä vaikutus, vaikuttaa)

Vaikuttavuus / vaikutus. Vaikuttavuusketjuajattelu. Tavoite - panos - teko - vaikutus - vaikuttavuusa
Vaikuttavuusketjuajattelu. Tomi Mäki-Opas (2017). UEF/MOOC Vaikuttavuus sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon näkökulmasta. https://digicampus.fi/course/view.php?id=2137

 

Themes such as the effectiveness of education, research, social welfare and healthcare services, treatment and social work pop up in the search queries created by our students and researchers. Listening to the Conference of Effectiveness 2021 made us ponder the topic of effectiveness in information retrieval.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is often not found through searching for the word effectiveness. The term will not necessarily be present in a document, publication, study, even if the research examined effectiveness. The search may also return hits primarily focused on cost-effectiveness, which, of course, is an increasingly important point of view.

Effectiveness can be seen as the change brought on by e.g. a service, affecting quality of life, well-being, health, ability to function or satisfaction, for example. Effectiveness is about moving towards objectives.

Effects, impact, outcomes…

If you are unable to find sufficient information using the search term ‘effectiveness,’ you must expand your search and think of other, alternative search terms. Nonetheless, it can be worthwhile trying search terms like effects, impact, outcomes or evaluation.

Measures, intervention…

Measurement and measure are also connected to effectiveness, but they are poor search terms. Would terms related to methods, such as instrument, scale, tools or questionnaire, be better?

What is an intervention? The word intervention may not necessarily be used in the article or study you are looking for. Words such as support, guidance or advice may be used instead, in contexts such as nutritional guidance, employment pilot, digital learning environment and web-based antenatal classes, depending on the study.

Comprehensive information retrieval, information retrieval in reviews…

We must often determine what effectiveness means in terms of a certain research problem. Which changes illustrate the effectiveness of the intervention or service at hand? Which words illustrate the theme and how can the search terms be combined?

Is there a decrease in bullying, for example?
e.g.
Gaffney, H., Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2021). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying perpetration and victimization: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 17(2), e1143. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1143
Searches in Appendix A performed as several separate search queries.
Another options are this way:
“anti-bully*” AND program* AND (effect* OR outcome* OR evaluation)
bully* AND school* AND (intervention* OR prevent* OR program*)

Is there a decrease in substance abuse, for example?
e.g.
McGovern, R., Newham, J. J., Addison, M. T., Hickman, M., & Kaner, E. (2021). Effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for reducing parental substance misuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3) doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012823.pub2
Searches in the Appendix

P.S. MOT Dictionaries translates the Finnish word ‘vaikuttavuus’ (used in this blog post) as ‘impressiveness’ (to impress as in evoke admiration), but it is not what is meant here.

Maarit Putous, tietoasiantuntija | Information specialist
Tuula Rissanen, tietoasiantuntija | Information specialist
Opetus- ja tietopalvelut | Training and information services

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Frequently asked questions 5 – How and where to find search terms?

Questions:

  • Where do the search terms come from?
  • How can I know which words I should use in searching?
  • Where can I find search terms?

The words you use as search terms can come from:

  • your brain; what words do you use to talk or to write about your topic?
  • dictionaries; especially when you need to check the spelling; you can use e.g. the MOT online dictionaries (authentication needed)
  • handbooks and textbooks; especially when you want to check the definition
  • the books and articles you have already found; what terms and expressions do they use?
  • thesauri; the controlled vocabularies of the databases, for example MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) that is used in many health related databases in indexing the contents

It is worth the time and the effort to pay attention to choosing your search terms, as well as thinking about how to combine them. That will save you time (and nerves) later. One might want just to write them down, someone else likes to draw a mind map, and another one organises them in a chart. Choose your own style.

mind map image

By: Tuulevi Ovaska, Head of Services, Kuopio University Hospital Medical Library, University of Eastern Finland Library

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Frequently asked questions 2 – Truncation

Questions about truncating search terms when searching databases:

  • Why is it necessary to truncate search terms?
  • How should I truncate my term?
  • What truncation mark should be used?

You do not always have to truncate your search terms but…

  • robots (search engines) only search for character strings, not for meanings
  • most terms have singular and plural forms, and also genetives

Examples:

  • truncated patient* retrieves all these: patient, patients, patient’s
  • not truncated patient retrieves only patient
  • truncated child* retrieves child, children, child’s children’s
  • not truncated child retrieves only child

Different databases use different truncation marks. The most common are asterisk * and question mark ?. Check the database’s manual/FAQ if * does not seem to work. In PubMed, Cochrane Library and Scopus truncate using *. In Josku truncate using ?.

truncation marks

There are also irregular plurals so that the singular and plural forms are different in a way that truncation does not work.

For example:

  • foot/feet
  • mouse/mice
  • tooth/teeth
  • woman/women

In some databases it is possible to use so called wild cards and search for e.g. wom*n, but in many databases you have to search singular and plural combined with OR.

For example:

  • foot OR feet
  • mouse OR mice
  • tooth OR teeth
  • woman OR women

There are also irregular plurals that can be search by truncating.

For example:

  • criteri* retrieves singular criterion and pluralcriteria
  • nucle* retrieves singular nucleus and plural nuclei (and also nuclear, nucleic, nucleoid, nucleon…)
  • analys* retrieves singular analysis and plural analyses (and also analysand and analyst)
  • phenomen* retrieves singular phenomenon and plural phenomena (and also e.g. phenomenology)

Watch a video in YouTube about truncation.

By: Tuulevi Ovaska, Head of Services, Kuopio University Hospital Medical Library, University of Eastern Finland Library

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