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Health Sciences (Online) - Fall 2020: Search Tips & Key Words

Starting out on Google?
Watch this video for some tips on finding peer-reviewed articles:

Search Tips

Key Words
No matter if you are in GALILEO or in Google, what you put into the search box matters. Keywords can make or break your search.

Coming up with keywords:

  • Think of as many different ways to say the same thing.
    • For example: generic and brand names, acronyms, phrases, jargon, slang, etc.
  • The more you read, the more keywords you will get. Mining Wikipedia for search terms (and references) is acceptable.
  • If you are looking for peer-reviewed articles, try to think of the jargon that will be included. This can be hard.
  • Jargon changes over time and across different fields. Be mindful of this if history is important to your search.
  • If you find a "perfect article," look to see if there are subject terms or tagged keywords to expand your search.
  • You can try to organize terms with PICO:
    • Person/Population
    • Intervention
    • Comparison
    • Outcome

Boolean Search Terms

Use AND to narrow a search and retrieve records containing all of the words it separates, e.g. scream AND ghost will only find articles containing both of these words.

Use OR to broaden a search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates, e.g. scream OR ghost will find articles that contain the word scream only, the word ghost only, or articles containing both of these words.

Use NOT to narrow a search and retrieve records that do not contain the term following it, e.g. scream NOT ghost will find records that contain the word scream, but not the word ghost.

How complicated can you get?
How many ANDs and ORs and keywords do you see?

Search Strategy for Complementary Medicine on PubMed.

Database Search Tips

Here are some tips when searching in GALILEO Discover.

General Tips:

  • Pay attention to side menus and options to sort results.
  • Don't put complete sentences into the search box.
  • Choose and vary your search terms/keywords. Try to be a specific as possible.

Sorting Your Search Results:

  • Find All My Search Terms shows your search terms and limiters you already have in place.

  • Check Full-Text Button to Limit Results to Full Text (articles that you can read immediately.)

  • Use the date slider to change the range for your results.

  • Under Limit By Type you can restrict your results to formats such as academic journals, news, etc.

  • You can limit your search by subject terms or what the article is ABOUT.

Navigating your Search Results:

  • Save the permalink from the Share drop-down button to save your search terms and results list.
  • Click on an article title to access that article.
  • Look at the text under the article title for a brief summary of the article.
  • The Icon by the article title shows you what format the result is (academic journal, newspaper)

Navigating the Article Title Page

  • PDF Full-Text is where you click to access the actual article.
  • The article record contains all the information you need to cite the article.
  • The abstract is a brief summary of the article, it is NOT the article itself. 
  • Use the email option in the tools menu to email yourself the article so you don't lose it!
  • The cite button in the tools menu is helpful but NOT always accurate. 
  • Subject Terms are clickable and might give you ideas for other search terms.


Database Search Tips


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