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GEH1049 / GEC1015 Public Health in Action

Search Tips for FindMore, Scopus and PubMed

Look at your topic in the form of a hypothesis or search statement or research question. Then translate this into a search strategy that can be used to find books and journal articles in databases/search engines.

When you're new to a particular database or search engine, a basic search strategy can help you get used to each database's features and how they are expressed in a search query. The following tips on developing a search strategy will help you to effectively search databases (e.g. Scopus) for relevant information:

Effects of indoor and outdoor environments on myopia progression in children
Concept   1 Boolean Operator Concept 2    Boolean Operator Concept   3

1. Identify the significant concepts/terms in your topic.

2. List related terms for each concept/term. These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept/term.

3Combine concepts/terms with Boolean search operators AND, OR and NOT. AND narrows the search while OR broadens the search. NOT is used to exclude certain terms/concepts from the search.

Exact phrase
​Use "quotation marks" to search for a phrase in the exact sequence that you have entered for e.g.

  • "central provident fund", "personal mobility device", "void deck"...












4. Evaluate. Refer to the tab on Evaluating Information when assessing the relevance and quality of your selected search results.

Use our Google-like search engine FindMore to search for the NUS Library's extensive collection of books/e-books, scholarly journals, newspaper articles, theses and dissertations and online full-text contents from subscribed electronic resources. 

  1. The Library's FindMore platform is a unified search engine that simulates a user's search in multiple systems.
  2. Search results are displayed in boxes containing records from the following systems (when applicable, hyperlinks a-d lead directly to search results on example of health insurance):
    1. Books and e-Resources (NUS Libraries collections of print and e-Resources)
    2. ScholarBank@NUS (Journal articles, conference papers, patented works, student theses, dissertations, academic exercises, datasets deposited in NUS institutional repository) 
    3. Digital Gems (Rare and historical primary source materials (in digital format) from NUS Libraries Special Collections)
    4. Yewno Discover (Brainstorming tool that helps you to navigate intuitively across concepts, relationships and fields).

FindMore new

  • Select the option   View/Filter More Books and E-Resources Results   for an expanded display of results for books and e-Resources relating to the topic "health insurance Singapore".
  1. Refine / Output  search results
    The results page for Books & E-Resources shows that ​FindMore searches across multidisciplinary subject areas making it great for interdisciplinary research.
  • To refine search results, go to the "REFINE YOUR SEARCH" filters on the left panel.  You can now zero in on relevant items by Peer Review, Open Access, Library catalog, Content type, Publication Date, Location...
  • To share relevant items with your team members, select the top right paper clip icon (Permanent Link). Copy and share the permanent link auto-generated by the system
  • To save the selected items, click on the red folder icon at the top right panel. The items will be stored in a temporary folder at the top right corner. Click on this temporary folder to output  (i.e. email, download, cite, export to citation managers, etc.) those saved items.

Options to access databases from the Library portal:
  1. Select the Databases tab.
  2. You can either search by a specific database name
  3. Go to the Browse by option and select the drop-down button to the right of the Major & Popular Databases menu. 
    Scopus and PubMed are in the list of Major & Popular Databases available in NUS Libraries.


One of the largest abstract and citation database for peer-reviewed literature with close to 50,000,000 records of scholarly publications, trade publications conference proceedings and more. Scopus is highly recommended for literature searches in science, technology, medicine, social sciences as well as multidisciplinary research topics.

  1. Too many or too few search results?
    • Combine your search terms/phrases the Boolean operator AND to narrow your search. Combine terms/phrases with the OR operator to broaden your search. Capitalize your operators as a matter of practice. In some databases, it does not matter whether you enter them in uppercase or lowercase, but others (like PubMed or Google Scholar) require them to be in uppercase.​ ​​​Most databases have pull-down menus where you can select the Boolean operators to combine your search terms. If not, you can type them in to your search statement. 

  • Make  use of the Refine results features on the left panel. Update the year for more recent search results.  

  1. Locating full text
    • Scopus provides links to full text (PDF, HTML).  Where available, select the full text menus such as the   or the   If these full text options are not available, try searching for the article title in the Library's FindMore search engine. If any of these options did not produce any results, search for the journal title in the Library catalogue or contact us via .


  1. Sorting resultssorting2
    • Select the "Sort on" option on the right panel to sort results by: 
      • Relevance: Determined by where your searched words most frequently appearing  in the Article title, Abstract, Keywords, Subject headings.
      • Date: Displays the newest or oldest results on top, depending on the selected option. 


  1. ​Output selected results
    • Scopus provides useful tools to output selected records and these include:   
  • Emailing yourself a copy of the article or recordoutput results1
  • Save/download full text articles
  • Export selected records to a preferred citation manager
  • Generating and sharing permanent link for the search results page 
  • Use the citation generated (Create a bibliography) by the database. Make sure to double check the citation as these are computer generated and may have mistakes.

This is the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s free, authoritative, database of more than 30 million citations to articles in the fields of biomedicine and health, with a specific focus on collecting original scientific research. PubMed is used by millions of users including health professionals and others engaged in research, health policy development, public health, clinical care, patient advocacy and related educational activities.

  1. Use PubMed to:
    1. Find a specific research article (known item) by title, author...
    2. Help familiarize yourself with a new topic
    3. Find original research.

  1. Introducing the New PubMed
    Launched in Fall 2019, the new PubMed has a clean and modern look. The new easy-to-use interface is used to search for the same trusted citation data available in the legacy PubMed. The improved search engine is designed to help you find the best match for your query and these include:
    1. Enhanced synonymy, including plural forms
    2. Enhanced British/American mapping
    3. Unlimited truncation
  1. PubMed Best Practices Have Not Changed
    1. If you are looking for some good articles about a topic:
      • Enter your search terms into the search box
      • Be specific
      • No search tags or Boolean operator AND needed
      • Avoid quotation marks
      • Avoid truncation (*)
    2. Looking for a specific, known article? 
      • Let the citation sensor work for you. The citation sensor will automatically analyze the search for citation information including  author names, journal titles, publication dates, and article titles.
  1. Advanced Search 
    This search mode allows you to:
    1. ​Search specific fields and build more complex searches. Most of the time you shouldn’t need to use it, but it is available, just in case.
    2. Find articles from a specific journal, even if you’re not sure of the journal’s exact name. Start typing parts of the journal title. The auto-suggest feature will suggest journal names that exist in the database, and you can choose the one you want.
    3. Focus your search to only finding your search terms in the Title/Abstract fields (relevance ranking), Click on the All Fields drop-down menu and select the option Title/Abstract.  


  1. Limit the search results to Review.  A review article (aka literature review) is a survey of published research on a topic over a period of time. Review articles are useful for researchers, introducing them to the key existing literature and summarizing the current state of a field. Review articles can also provide recommendations for potential research areas.
  2. Apply Additional Filters to limit your search results by Article Type, Subject, Journal, Age, etc.