Methods for Evaluating Database Coverage
Keywords:Research methods, database evaluation, database coverage, content analysis
Purposes: In this article, we describe two methods to evaluate database content coverage, illustrating their use with the example of evaluating databases for coverage of medical education literature.
Method names: Though several methods for evaluating database content coverage have been described, the two used herein, referred to as the reference list search method and the journal method, use traditional librarian skills and tools and can be used across a variety of topic areas.
Description: In this paper, we describe two approaches to evaluating database coverage. For each method, we use the example of evaluating databases for their coverage of medical education literature. In the reference list search method, we search for references from comprehensive reviews or bibliographies to determine their presence in databases. In the journal method, we describe the indexing status and coverage of key publications in databases.
Strengths: These methods use established librarian skills and tools and can be applied to a wide variety of topics.
Limitations: The results of each method depend on the quality and comprehensiveness of the original source material: comprehensive reviews and bibliographies for the reference list search method and publication lists for the journal method.
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