Try and identify as many relevant terms as possible. This will help make the search more Sensitive
Try also to identify the most relevant terms. Using these could make the search more Specific
Try a Clinical Question:
Grouping your identified terms & creating a question can help you to focus Practice Here
Find out about Thesauri:
Authors often use different terms for the same topic, like: Heart attack / myocardial infarction /MI. This can make searching hard.
However the database cataloguers group all such similar terms under a unique keyword. In Medline / Pubmed this is called a MESH term. (Medical Subject Heading).
The MeSH headings are included on each record. So if you know the right MesH headiing you can pick up a wider range of relevant articles.
See a sample database record Here.
MH is the 'MeSH field. You may need to tweak your search to include this field in it.
You might also like:
Create a Framework
Group your terms together according to the different areas that frame your search.
Such frameworks may include sections such as:
PICO is the best known one : Patient Intervention Comparison Outcome
Group all similar Terms
Each framework section may have several different terms. The similar terms must be grouped together.
Here's some terms to describe Older hypertensive men with Type 1 diabetes
|Male||Type 1 diabetes||Elderly||High blood pressure|
|Men||Type 1 diabetic||Aged||Hypertension|
|Insulin dependent diabetes mellitis|
Combine the Terms
(Male OR Men) AND (Type 1 Diabetes OR Type 1 diabetic OR Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitis OR IDDM) AND Elderly AND ( High Blood Pressure OR Hypertension )
( You can do this automatically and then do a search with the Search Whiteboard tool )
Terms may be needed to modified, depending on the database used or to focus the search in particular area - like the title of an article
See the Tab 4
SELECT SITES ( in draft)
Choosing where to look:
Choosing where to look depends on several factors:
Graphic Source: See Notes below table
A general search on the internet will often bring you up some initially apparently relevant results. More so if you have the skills to limit and hone your search terms. However you cannot guarantee that the most reliable information appears first nor that the information provided is accurate, current or unbiased, so you need to be quite savvy. Google Scholar is a better site in this regard
Dedicated sites that either filter or search a subset of reliable information: Nice Evidence, Trip, NHS.uk, Patient UK ( See where to look tab )
Point of care tools such as Uptodate enable you to focus into solutions for clinical problems very quickly
Some specialisms have dedicated data bases, like PeDro for Physios. Professional Bodies and colleges also also have their own dedicated websites
Government departments. Health and Safety, Environmental monitoring
If you are in a specialised field then it may be worth searching on a particular journal first only eg Journal of Clinical Oncology is often used in this way.
Notes on Graphic
This original graphic is entirely based on personal observation and opinion.
The aim is to cut text and represent the sort of sources that might me appropriate for some typical tasks.
It can be very easily edited.
The original sheet is here.
Please contact me if you have some improvements and suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org
General Internet: Major search engines