Creating a Effective Database Search Strategy
- Plan your search: A literature search always begins with a well-planned research question.
- Example of a search question:
Does giving oral supplements with vitamin D alone, or in combination with calcium, to women during pregnancy, improve maternal and neonatal outcomes?
- Identify your key concepts:
- Using a method such as PICO can help keep you focused:
PICO – Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome
- Create a list of synonyms for each of the key concepts.
- Using a table can help keep your organized.
3. Creating the search strategy:
- The main concepts of your search can be combined in a database with the Boolean operators AND and OR.
- Use OR to combine the synonyms
- Use AND to connect the different key concepts.
- Parenthesis are helpful to group like terms together and keep your search strategy logical.
- Example of a search strategy:
(pregnant OR pregnancy OR prenatal) AND (“vitamin D” OR calciferol OR ergocalciferol OR viosterol OR cholecarciferol) AND (“pre-eclampsia” OR “gestational diabetes” OR “low birthweight”)