A Productive Proposed Search Syntax for Health Disaster Preparedness Research

Behnaz Rastegarfar, Ali Ardalan, Saharnaz Nejat, Abbasali Keshtkar, Mohammad Javad Moradian


Objective: To find a proper search strategy to do a systematic review related to preparedness for disasters.

Methods: MeSH and Emtree terms were searched to detect synonyms for two main search terms “disaster” and “preparedness”. Expert opinion on the synonyms was examined applying a Google form. The adopted syntax was searched in PubMed and results were sifted. Hand searching in two top key journals was done and sensitivity was calculated.

Results: Out of 1120 articles, 122 were included. In PDM journal, 10 articles were included by hand searching, out of which 5 were not spotted in PubMed search with the proposed syntax. In DMPHP journal, 13 publications were included, with 5 not found in PubMed search. Because of human error in hand searching 2 articles were added.

Conclusion: The proposed syntax in this study achieves a sensitivity of search of 0.6 in PubMed which could be quite applicable for researchers. Moreover, in case only MeSH or Emtree terms were applied in search strategy or where hand searching was not performed, there were a number of articles missed.


Disaster; Health; Preparedness

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