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Getting Started: Finding Scholarly Articles: Searching for citations

Choosing and Using Databases

Searching for citations

This page provides strategies for successful searches.  Try searching these databases yourself in the search boxes below.

Then click on the demonstrations tab above for examples of each database and help on using it.

Search PubMed



Search Google Scholar

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Google Scholar

Search Scopus


5 Successful Search Strategies

Follow these 5 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 and CINAHL are good starting points for peer-reviewed research articles.
  • Consider books and e-books for background information.

4.  Use search tips or help files in the database.

  • Each database searches differently.  Some have a thesaurus and some use keywords.
  • PubMed and CINAHL have limits for language, patient age, publication type, date, and more.

5.  Ask a Librarian if you get stuck or need any help!

Building Your Search

Using Boolean Operators

Chat with a Librarian


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