LITERATURE SEARCHING SKILLS: SEARCHING ELECTRONIC DATABASES . Why is it useful to know how to search electronic databases?.
“I have tried a couple of searches just selecting Mesh terms and tend to get only a few papers, often without the papers I knew were relevant.
However, if I just type in the search to Pubmed it gives me thousands of papers.”
Select search terms
Select databases to search
Export and assess the results
Report the searching process
Open access (Pubmed)
University login: OVID, EbscoHost,
Web of Science
Other : Professional associations
MEDLINE® is the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) journal citation database. As of January 2013, it provided over 20 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946, from approximately 5,600 journals. MEDLINE is available from Ovid, EbscoHost, Web of Knowledge, ProQuest, and other database search interfaces.
Pubmed is a free database also maintained by NLM at the National of Health. Pubmed mainly contains the same references as MEDLINE, + citations for very recent articles, not yet indexed; citations to some additional life sciences journals; citations for books available on the NCBI Bookshelf
if you want user-friendly search features that you can access (free of charge) anywhere.
when you are looking for extremely recent citations
When you are looking for a quick, comprehensive search (however, Pubmed can be also used for quite complex searches)
Keywords are “natural language” words describing your topic. The search engine looks for keywords anywhere in the record (title, author name, abstract, journal name..) often returns many irrelevant results.
A controlled vocabulary is a standardized set of terms used by a database to categorize articles based on the content. Using terms from a database’s controlled vocabulary retrieves more relevant articles.
“Emergency Medical Technicians” OR “Allied Health Personnel”
"hospitals, teaching“ OR "academic medical centers"
‘and’ looks for articles containing both terms and it narrows the search
“or” broadens the search
Looks for articles containing either search term or both
Patients’ adherence to TB treatment in low and middle income countries
“Tuberculosis"[Mesh] OR tuberculosis [Title/Abstract]
patient* OR client* OR subject* [Title/Abstract] OR “Patients"[Mesh]
adherence OR compliance [Title/Abstract] OR “patient compliance” [MeSH]
low-resource countries OR resource poor countries [Title/Abstract ] OR "Developing Countries"[Mesh] OR developing countr* [Title/Abstract ] OR LMIC
Rapid diagnostic tests for visceral leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis, visceral [MeSH] OR Leishmania donovani [MeSH] OR Leishmania infantum [MeSH] OR “Kala azar OR kala-azar” ti, ab OR “Visceral leishmania*” ti, ab
“Rapid diagnos*” OR RDT* OR “Antigen* detect*” ti, ab OR “Antibod* detect*” ti ab OR Latex Fixation Tests [MeSH]
Lateral flow test ti, ab OR Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay [MeSH] OR “ELISA” ti, ab OR “Dipstick*” ti, ab OR K39 antigen, Leishmania [Substance Name] OR K26 antigen, Leishmania [Substance Name] OR “K39 Or rK39” ti, ab OR “Strip test*” ti, ab OR Reagent kits, diagnostic [MeSH]
We searched the following databases up to March 2013 using the search terms and strategy described in Table 1: Cochrane Infectious Disease Group Specialized Register; Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); MEDLINE; EMBASE; and LILACS. We also searched the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) using ’tuberculosis’ and ’supplementation’ as search terms. In addition we searched the Indian Journal of Tuberculosis using the keywords given in the search strategy (Appendix 1).
Searching other resources
We also checked the reference lists of all studies identified.
‘author and date’ in text referencing
alphabetical order in reference list
consecutive numbering in text
numerical order in reference list