SCIE Report 13: Systematic searching on the AgeInfo database

By Brian J. Taylor, Emma Wylie, Martin Dempster and Michael Donnelly

Published June 2006


The facility to undertake systematic retrieval of abstracts of articles from electronic bibliographic databases is an essential component of evidence-based practice. Systematic reviews of research require facilities for sophisticated searching that is both sensitive and precise.


This report presents the results of an evaluation of the AgeInfo database, which is an information service provided by the Centre for Policy on Ageing ( and which is made available to the public at not cost through SCIE's own database Social Care Online (


This report is intended for use by SCIE and the Centre for Policy on Ageing, and may also be useful to users of the AgeInfo database, such as researchers conducting systematic reviews.

Messages from the report

The AgeInfo database was searched using a clearly defined search question. Six other databases relevant to social work and healthcare were also searched to gauge the comparative advantages and disadvantages of AgeInfo. The modern development of Boolean algebra employed in electronic databases was used to create searches that were as sensitive and as precise as possible on each database, given their respective facilities.

Key findings


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  • Report 13: Systematic searching on the AgeInfo database