UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Establishing a comprehensive search strategy for Indigenous health literature reviews Harding, Louise; Marra, Caterina J.; Illes, Judy


Background: Appropriate search strategies are essential to ensure the integrity and reproducibility of systematic and scoping reviews, as researchers seek to capture as many relevant resources as possible. In the case of Indigenous health reviews, researchers are met with the special challenge of creating a search strategy that can encompass this large, diverse population group with no universally agreed upon identification criteria. Main body: With an aim to promote improved review methodologies that uphold standards of justice, autonomy, and equity for Indigenous peoples and other heterogeneous populations, we describe critical gaps and approaches to close them. We report organizational and transparency issues around how Indigenous populations are indexed in several major databases, and draw on examples of published reviews and protocols to demonstrate the challenges inherent to creating a comprehensive search strategy. Conclusions: The conduct and communication of results from health literature research on global Indigenous populations are compromised by challenges of methodology that are rooted in the complexities inherent to defining Indigenous peoples. These challenges must be urgently addressed to improve this important field of inquiry moving forward.

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