Example Continued

Search Criteria

When researchers search for evidence that addresses their Study Objective, they need an approach that is specific enough to weed out unnecessary information but comprehensive enough to capture the full range of relevant studies. To do this, they create a set of “Search Criteria,” which includes a description of formal search terms as well as the types of studies that should be included in the systematic review.

Notice how the ARAS study authors describe their Search Criteria by including the search terms they used as well as the limits they put on study subjects, study design, and study language:

The electronic search strategy combined terms for renal artery stenosis, renal hypertension, and renal vascular disease and was limited to adult humans, relevant research designs, and the English language…

Study Selection Criteria

Once researchers identify the potentially eligible set of studies, the next step is to “screen” through each potential study to determine which studies are truly eligible. To do so, researchers apply a pre-determined set of criteria, which are known as the “Study Selection Criteria.”

This is how the ARAS study authors described their Study Selection Criteria:

We included studies of adults treated for ARAS that reported long-term (≥6 months) outcomes or adverse events. The outcomes of interest were all-cause mortality; kidney function, blood pressure control, cardiovascular disease, including congestive heart failure; and adverse events… We included randomized, controlled trials and nonrandomized, comparative studies comparing PTRAS versus any medical therapy with at least 10 participants per group….