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RTI Research Spotlight: Latest Research Reveals There Is No Easy Method to Identify Clinical Trials in Systematic Reviews

Conducting systematic reviews is a common component of the everyday job responsibilities of many medical librarians. Often this includes limiting search results to clinical trials, but how many of us are trained—or comfortablein identifying the various types of clinical trials? When we need clarification, what resources do we turn to?

These are some of the questions that inspired me to apply for the RTI 2019 cohort. As a fellow in that cohort, I learned how to refine my topic, construct a survey and analyze its results, and begin the process of compiling this information into an article that could be submitted for publication. I am happy to report that my article “Medical librarians' knowledge and practices in locating clinical trials for systematic reviews” was published in the April 2021 issue of JMLA.

Our research showed that many medical librarians, while comfortable in their ability to locate trials for systematic reviews, would be interested in learning more about clinical trial types. The survey also revealed that there is no definitive resource for this type of information. This survey confirmed my hypothesis that more education and research is needed on this topic.

*Jennifer Westrick, AHIP, is a fellow of the 2019 MLA Research Training Institute (RTI), and this project was the focus of her research. The RTI project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-95-17-0025-17).

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