Design and validation of a search filter for LGBTQ+ populations




Poster session 2


Monday 17 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Parker RMN1, Wanner A2, Foster M3, Lackey M4
1 WK Kellogg Library, Dalhousie University, Canada
2 Primary and Community Care Research Group, Plymouth University, UK
3 Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University, USA
4 Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah, USA
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Robin Parker

Contact person:

Abstract text
The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people is a subject area that is challenging to search due to variant and changing terminology, which presents a challenge when developing comprehensive searches for systematic reviews on health topics specific to this population group.

To develop and validate PubMed search filters to identify research concerning LGBTQ+ populations.

We searched for systematic reviews on LGBTQ+ topics and extracted the included studies from a selection of recent reviews in order to use relative recall and test sets of search terms. We split the resulting citations into a development set and a validation set of over 500 citations each. We categorized the citations by subgroups included in the study, such as gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people or combinations of groups. We created search strings of index and text word terms in PubMed and used the development set to calculate the precision and recall of three search filters: sensitive, specific and a balance of the two. We developed search filters for the various subgroups. We then tested the final search filters against the validation set to confirm the performance measures.

We created a test set and a validation set of gold standard citations using the relative recall method. Final search filters and their performance metrics will be presented.

A validated search filter is an easier and more reliable approach to retrieve relevant literature for reviews on topics related to this minority population. We will present the limitations of this research and recommendations for searching for research related to LGBTQ+ health.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
The majority of the researchers on this project are members of the LBGTQ+ community and therefore have a vested interest in improving the quality of searches and reviews relating to health topics that impact ourselves and our peers.

Relevance to patients and consumers: 

This project aims to make it easier to find research about people who are gender or sexual minorities. Since there are many different words and phrases used to describe this community, these published research papers can be difficult to find. We used a well known process (relative recall) to develop and test a set of terms that can be used to find research about gender and sexual minorities more easily with less errors. Although we did not have formal involvement from patients in the community who identify as gender or sexual minorities, the majority of the research team identifies as LGBTQ+ and have personal interest in this research.