Smart Searching For The Health Sciences

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Instruction given to graduate students in the health sciences at the University of Western Ontarion on June 8, 2009

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Smart Searching For The Health Sciences

  1. 1. Graduate Student Workshop: Smart Searching for the Health Sciences June 8, 2009 Robin Featherstone Research & Instructional Services Librarian
  2. 2. Learning Objective <ul><li>Run a comprehensive search of the health sciences literature </li></ul>
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Develop a search statement </li></ul><ul><li>Select keywords and subject headings </li></ul><ul><li>Complete a concept map </li></ul><ul><li>Run the search in different health sciences databases </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Revise </li></ul>
  4. 4. The search statement <ul><li>I am looking for articles about.... </li></ul>
  5. 5. Selecting terms <ul><li>Subject Headings: MeSH, CINAHL Headings, Topics, Thesaurus Headings, etc... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Database defined </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bring together multiple terms </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Keywords </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>User defined </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have to take care to include all iterations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Concept Map
  7. 7. Run the search <ul><li>Start with all of the terms in your first column </li></ul><ul><li>Search one at a time </li></ul><ul><li>OR them together </li></ul><ul><li>Then move on to the next column </li></ul><ul><li>Search one at a time </li></ul><ul><li>OR them together </li></ul><ul><li>AND the concepts together </li></ul><ul><li>Add limits </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s do the first search together in PubMed </li></ul>
  8. 8. Group Exercise <ul><li>Pair up </li></ul><ul><li>Select a health sciences database : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ovid Medline </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Embase </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CINAHL </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PsycINFO </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cochrane Library </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scopus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Run the same search </li></ul>
  9. 9. Group Exercise cont... <ul><li>Report on your findings </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What worked? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What didn’t ? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What did you like about your database? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What did you dislike? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Evaluate your results <ul><li>Too few? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try adding more search terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try broader terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try removing limits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Too many? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try removing some search terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try narrower terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try adding limits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Irrelevant? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess your search statement – is it too broad? Too focused? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess your terms – are there more accurate search terms? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Revise <ul><li>Based on a quick evaluation of your results, revise one of the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your search statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your limits </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Group Exercise <ul><li>Try revising your search and report on your findings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you get better results? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What did you learn about the database? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. “ Comprehensive” Results <ul><li>Run your search in all the major health sciences databases </li></ul><ul><li>Next Steps </li></ul><ul><li>Export results to a citation manager like RefWorks </li></ul>
  14. 14. And, finally... <ul><li>Tips for success: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consult your subject librarians: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attend more grad student workshops: www.lib.uwo.ca/taylor/workshopsandtutorials.html </li></ul></ul>

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