ARIF Databases

The ARIF reviews database and the ARIF Methodology database were set up in 1996 as part of the Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (ARIF). 

The ARIF reviews database contains details of systematic reviews of effectiveness of healthcare interventions, diagnostics and observation studies. About 10% of the 20,000 reviews it contains currently are systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy/screening studies. The ARIF Methodology database is a much smaller database (approx 1000 records) containing records of studies on systematic review methodology. The reviews and studies indexed for inclusion in these databases was derived from scanning of the relevant journals, databases and alerting services. 

These databases were regularly updated until June 2018 and an archive is still available.

If you have any queries about the ARIF databases please contact: April Coombe

Searching the databases...

Quick search

This facility only searches across the indexed fields of the database (keyword and author), thus conducts a very narrow search so we suggest that in most cases you use the advanced search mode allowing you to tailor the search to your question and search as broadly as possible. If you do use the quick search option make sure you put an asterisk (wild card) immediately after your chosen term to capture any compound terms.

Advanced search

This is our recommended option, enabling you to conduct a more comprehensive search. You may limit your search to the ARIF reviews database or the ARIF Methodology database using the drop-down menu.

For a broad search combine text words in title and abstract via the drop-down all non-indexed fields option using the Boolean “OR” operator with keywords (added at the point of indexing each record) via the drop-down all indexed fields option. To ensure the most comprehensive search use an asterisk after single terms. Bracket specific compound terms thus{heart failure}.

When searching by author use surname only and always add * immediately after the author name.

To broaden your search

As detailed above search using both all non-indexed fields and all indexed fields combined with Boolean operator OR.

To narrow your search

We suggest you try searching on title only or use the all indexed terms search option. It is also possible to narrow your search to particular years by using the drop-down date option.

Phrase Searches

The best strategy is to bracket your term thus{breast cancer} and search via all non-indexed fields.

To find a specific category of systematic review:

Although we do not use a controlled vocabulary such as MeSH when reviews are entered into the ARIF database, we do add relevant index terms to a record to help with searching and retrieval. In addition to this we also tag specific types of systematic review so that they can be retrieved easily. For example if you are looking for systematic reviews of diagnostic test studies in general, search on “DIAGNOSIS” under keyword and you will retrieve over 1,700 diagnostic test reviews.

The other categories of review that are tagged on entry to the database are as follows:

  • Alternative Medicine
  • Education
  • Ecology
  • Crime
  • Transport
  • Genetics
  • Mental health
  • Public health
  • Observational Study

Sorting your search results

Once you have retrieved your search results you can use the drop-down sort facility to organise them according to author, date or source.

Exporting your search results

As well as printing out results, it is also possible to mark specific references and download them to Reference Management software using the Export facility

Individual records

Each ARIF database record is based on the standard Reference Manager layout and includes only the following fields:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Source
  • Date
  • Vol and issue no
  • Abstract

Although the databases include abstracts for most records, for copyright reasons we have not made these accessible on the web. However we have included urls where available.

If you have any queries about the ARIF databases please contact : April Coombe

The ARIF databases are currently offline – please check again soon.