General Searching Tips
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General Searching Tips

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Tips on searching databases and the open web (of special interest to UAB Lister Hill Library patrons).

Tips on searching databases and the open web (of special interest to UAB Lister Hill Library patrons).

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General Searching Tips General Searching Tips Presentation Transcript

  • SEARCH TIPS
  • GENERAL SEARCH TIPS  Identify key concepts in research statement or question  Build search strings using Boolean Operators (and other search tools)  Choose which database(s) to search  If you need assistance, Ask-a-Librarian  Set Limits to narrow your results  Contact a librarian if you need help!
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  What effect does nutrition have on learning?
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  What effect does nutrition have on learning?
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  I’m looking for articles on hyperhidrosis (aka excessive sweating or perspiration).
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  I’m looking for articles on hyperhidrosis (aka excessive sweating or perspiration).
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  I need articles on epidural and subdural hematomas but not subarachnoid hematomas.
  • STEP 1: SELECT KEY CONCEPTS TO BUILD SEARCH WITH.  I need articles on epidural and subdural hematomas but not subarachnoid hematomas.
  • STEP 2: BUILD A SEARCH STRING AND—OR—NOT & other search tools
  • The AND Operator Measles: Mumps: 20,604 Results 7,900 Results Measles AND Mumps: 3,665 Results PubMed search results 06/29/09
  • The OR Operator Measles: Mumps: 20,604 Results 7,900 Results Measles OR Mumps: 24,838 Results PubMed search results 06/29/09
  • The NOT operator Measles: 20,604 Results Mumps: Measles NOT Mumps: 7,900 Results 4,234 Results Note: Beware of using NOT because you can “not” yourself out of good search results! PubMed search results 06/29/09
  • Use other search operators such as: • Quotation marks to search as a phrase ex. “heart attack” searches as a phrase and not for individual instances of the words heart or attack • Truncate words ex. “inject*” searches injects, injected, injecting, injection, etc.
  • CONSTRUCTING THE SEARCH STRINGS  What effect does nutrition have on learning? • nutrition AND learning • nutrition AND (learning OR education)
  • CONSTRUCTING THE SEARCH STRINGS  I’m looking for articles on hyperhidrosis (aka excessive sweating or perspiration). hyperhidrosis OR ((sweat* OR perspir*) AND (excessive OR abnormal OR profuse))
  • CONSTRUCTING THE SEARCH STRINGS  I need articles on epidural and subdural hematomas but not subarachnoid hematomas. ((epidural OR subdural) AND hematoma) NOT “subarachnoid hematoma” Note: Beware of using NOT because you can “not” yourself out of good search results!
  • STEP 3: SELECT A DATABASE (AND/OR CAREFULLY SEARCH THE INTERNET).  Select a database by:  Asking a librarian for help  Going to the Databases and Resources page http://www.uab.edu/lister and/or CAREFULLY search the internet
  • Items to consider when evaluating internet based information
  • Who runs the site? Clear ownership
  • How is the site funded? Conflict of Interest
  • What is the purpose of the site? Clear statement of purpose and mission
  • Where does the information come from? References clearly listed
  • How is content selected? Clear statement on selection and inclusion/exclusion of information
  • How current is the information? Date posted or last update displayed
  • Does the website provide contact information? In this case, by online form
  • And with what we just went over in mind …
  • Wikipedia: A great place to start… …but not the place to finish.
  • Anyone (essentially) can edit a Wikipedia entry From the revision history of the Universal Health Care Wikipedia entry
  • Wikipedia entries often have links to credible and scholarly resources References section from Wikipedia Universal Health Care entry
  • STEP 4: SET LIMITS In the process of searching, introduce limits: • Publication Dates • Language(s) • Discipline (nursing, medicine, etc.) • Type of article (opinion, clinical trial, review, etc.) • Free full text • Etc. Limits can have great impact on searches: Use them wisely; Start with a broad search (Don’t “limit” yourself out of good resources)
  • Seek the help and assistance of a Lister Hill Library Librarian! http://www.uab.edu/lister
  • Ask-a-Librarian http://www.uab.edu/lister/qpask/ And follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/UABLHL
  • Nursing Liaisons http://www.uab.edu/lister/research/nursing/