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Nursing and Allied Health: Step 3: Constructing Search Strategies

Guide to NUS Libraries' Resources for Nursing

Step 3: Constructing Search Strategies

Constructing Search Strategies (4 parts)

This series of videos introduce the basic concepts in building searching strategies, such as

  • Free-text (natural language) searching

PubMed Field Names Part 2 - Titles, Abstracts, and Text Words (YouTube)

This video by Research Librarian from University of Adelaide introduces you to some additional fields to use in your PubMed searches.

  • Phrase searching

Tips and Tricks: Phrase Searching (YouTube)

Learn how to improve the relevance of your search results with phrase searching - by NCSU Libraries.

  • Truncation

How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Modifiers "", *, ( ) (YouTube)

Learn how to format your search using the Boolean Modifiers quotes " ", asterisk *, and parenthesis ( ) - by McMaster University Library.

  • Boolean logic

How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT) (YouTube)

Learn how to use the Boolean Operators AND/OR/NOT to target and refine your search - - by McMaster University Library.

  • Combining free-text/keyword search with controlled vocabularies ensure the comprehensiveness of the search strategies

Systematic Searches #11: Validating, Verifying and Revising Your Searches (Video)

This video from the The Medical Library at Yale University introduces techniques in validating, verifying and revising your searches.

Part 1 – Apply Booleans/Syntax

Power Point slides for the Part 1 video


List of Resources/Libguides being mentioned in this video:

Watch this video from Hayden Memorial Library to find out how to select keywords based on controlled vocabulary(index term), research topic as well as from title & abstract.

Download this comprehensive guide as it includes different syntax being used by PubMed, Cochrane,, Ovid platform (PsycINFO) as well as EBSCO platform (CINAHL).

Part 3 – Replicate the Search - Controlled Vocabulary

Power Point slides for the Part 3 video


List of Resources/Libguides being mentioned in this video:

This tutorial from NCBI shows how to build a targeted PubMed search starting in the MeSH database. It includes very brief background on MeSH terms and indexing.

This tutorial demonstrates how to create a search using the CINAHL/MeSH Headings functionality in EBSCOhost.

Overview of including how to search for Emtree terms at time stamp 1.18- 1.40

Part 2 - Introduction to constructing search strategies

Power Point slides for the Part 2 video


List of Resources/Libguides being mentioned in this video:

Inappropriate or inadequate search strategies may fail to identify records that are included in bibliographic databases.

This video from USU Libraries will help you understand the difference between searching by keywords vs. subject terms in library databases. 

The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus is a controlled and hierarchically-organized vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine. It is used for indexing, cataloging, and searching of biomedical and health-related information. MeSH includes the subject headings appearing in MEDLINE/PubMed, the NLM Catalog, and other NLM databases.

This video from Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, VCU Libraries explains what subject headings-controlled vocabulary is and how it is organized in order to help a user of a database to do a more effective search.

Part 4 – Search for MORE -Keywords/Synonyms/Alternative Terms

Power Point slides for the Part 4 video


List of Resources/Libguides being mentioned in this video:

Entry terms, sometimes called "See cross-references", are synonyms, alternate forms, and other closely related terms in a given MeSH record.