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Database Searching - Health: Step 3: Search!

Guide for Database Searching for the Health Sciences

Every Database is Different

In many databases, it is helpful to use the advanced search option.

It may be helpful to run each part of your search separately and then put the parts together.

You may be able to specify how the database searches (title, author, title/abstract, journal title, etc.).

When in doubt, contact the librarian.  Librarians are expert searchers!

Help, I am not finding enough results!
I hear this often.  Here are a few tips:
  • Try using another database
  • Try using alternative search terms
  • Try taking out one of your search parameters
  • Ask your helpful librarian for assistance!
Help, I am getting way too many results!
I hear this often.  Here are a few tips:
  • Try adding another parameter - Focus your question
    • population, location, age group, specific medication, etc.
  • Try limiting your search to only titles and abstracts instead of looking at all terms
  • Ask your helpful librarian for assistance!

Searching is an iterative process.  There is no real "right way" to search.  It is very much trial and error.  Try something.  If it doesn't work, try something else.  When you find something that works, build on it.  If you need help, reach out.