In this tab of the research guide, you will learn:
Once you've engaged with all the content on this page, you should:
You'll be crafting a complex search strategy. To ensure your search is comprehensive and replicable, you'll want to create a concept table representing the main ideas in your research question and tracking all the terminology you've used.
You can use the Google doc linked below (copy it to your own Google Drive) to develop your concept table in preparation for searching.
Watch the video for a tour of the concept table!
There are two kinds of search terms: keywords and controlled vocabulary.
When you being brainstorming keywords:
Watch this short video to see how you might approach this process in your concept table!
Consider whether there are different forms of a word that interests you. In library databases, searching for any ending of a word is called "truncation." Frequently you can use a * to truncate a word, but the symbol can vary among different databases. In some cases, you can use a "wildcard" to find alternative spellings that fall inside a word, rather than at the end.
Some examples are below. It's worth noting that PubMed allows for truncation (use the * symbol) but not wildcard searching.
Terms may be spelled differently depending on the researchers' language background
Abbreviations may be useful
Singular, plural, and more
Multiple factors may apply
In a systematic review, it's vital to document:
Scroll through this presentation to learn about how to set up an effective database search. This is applicable to any database! We'll learn more about the details of using PubMed and Cochrane in those tabs of the guide.
If you want to view this presentation in a larger format, which I recommend, look for the icon of four arrows pointing away from one another, located in the top right corner. Clicking on that will expand the size to make it easier to see.
Then you're ready to move on to the next tab, Explore PubMed: Getting Started!
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