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CDS 625: Analysis of Scientific Publication: Search Strategies

Successful Search Strategies

Follow these steps for a successful search:

1.  Identify key concepts and think of synonyms for each concept.

  • Watch this tutorial to learn more about key concepts.

2.  Build search statements using AND, OR, and sometimes NOT.

  • Use AND to narrow your search and OR to broaden it.

3.  Choose the right databases and resources to search.

  • PubMed is a good starting point for health sciences systematic reviews.

4.  Chat with a Librarian if you get stuck or need any help!

Video

SR Search Spreadsheet

In order for your systematic review to be reproducible, it is important to keep track of the search strategy you use for each database.  That way, someone else can verify your research. 

Furthermore, a spreadsheet helps you keep track of the total number of duplicates for your project as well as the number of duplicates from each database searched. 

Finally, PRISMA recommends you report at least one search strategy in your published manuscript, so keeping track of it in a spreadsheet will help you when you write your manuscript.

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