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Dental Hygiene Subject Guide: Searching

Search Boxes & Fields

You should begin your search on the Advanced Search page if you have more than one term or phrase (put quotation marks around a phrase).

This is the Basic Search.

This is the Advanced Search.  Break your terms up so there is only one per search box.


By clicking on the arrow next to "Select a Field" you can search for the term(s) in specific areas of articles.

Search Strategy

Creating a search strategy helps researchers in many ways:

  • a topic is established, helping in clarifying a need for information
  • additional or related keywords can be utilized if certain ones do not yield the type of articles desired
  • search results become refined and precise, resulting in relevant articles.

These are the main steps in creating a search strategy:

1.  Define your topic in a complete sentence or question.

Improvement is needed in informing Latinos with type 1 diabetes on self-care.

2.  Determine the keywords in your sentence/question.

informing patients, Latinos, Type 2 diabetes

3.  Generate synonyms or similar words/terms for the keywords listed in #2.

Informing patients:  information, diabetes education

Latinos:  Hispanics, Spanish-speaking

Diabetes:  insulin-dependent diabetes

4.  Now you can search mixing and matching your search terms as necessary to get some relevant results.

You can also find CINAHL headings/subject headings for your keywords and mix those into your search.

Informing patients:  diabetes education, patient education

Latinos:  Hispanics

Diabetes:  Diabetes mellitus, insulin-dependent

See box to the right for info on finding subject headings.

Search Technique

Boolean Operators connect the search terms together in different ways.

Boolean logic defines logical relationships between terms in a search. The Boolean search operators are and, or and not. You can use these operators to create a very broad or very narrow search.

  • And combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, travel and Europe finds articles that contain both travel and Europe.
  • Or combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms. For example, college or university finds results that contain either college or university.
  • Not excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, television not cable finds results that contain television but not cable.

Note: When executing a search, And takes precedence over Or.

The following table illustrates the operation of Boolean terms:


Adding Limits/Filters

You can refine your results by adding limits or filters found under "Refine Results" on the left-hand side.


Click on "Show More" to see what other limits/filters you can use.  You'll get a box with some of the same limits, but also some different ones.


Lower in the list on the left you'll see "Subject."  This is a great way to focus in on your specific topic.


Be sure to click on "Show More."


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