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Graduate Biomedical Sciences and JHS Departments: Databases

Strategies for Successful Searching

1. Identify key concepts and brainstorm search terms for each

2. Build search strings using "and" "or" and sometimes "not"

  • Learn more about Boolean operators here 
  • "And" narrows your topic, "or" broadens it

3. Choose the right resources or databases to search

  • Consider books and e-books for background information. Articles can provide current information and answer specific   questions. Use articles to find evidence for evidence-based-health care.
  • PubMed (medicine) and Web of Science (science) are good starting points for peer-reviewed biomedical articles

4. Use Search Tips from Help files in your chosen database to focus your search

  • Each database searches differently. Some use subject terms that include popular synonyms.  Others search by  keyword
  • PubMed and CINAHL have "limits"  for language, patients ages, publications types, date, and more

5. Ask a librarian if you get stuck!

  • As your liaison, I can suggest databases, recommend subject headings within each database, and assist you with literature reviews, creating auto-alerts on your topic, and managing your results.
  • We can work through email or meet in your office/lab for a consultation to get started.

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Jill Deaver
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