How to Perform an Advanced Literature Search

Follow these five steps using the sample research question below:

What is the efficacy of conflict management curriculum using simulation exercises?

1. Run a quick search with your own keywords
  • Use OR to connect similar concepts
  • Use AND to connect different concepts
  • Use quotation marks to look for an exact phrase
  • Use [tiab] to find word/phrase in the article title/abstract
  • Use [ti] to find word/phrase in the article title
  • Use * to find possible endings to a word (i.e., discover* finds discovery, discoveries, etc.)

Example:

effect* AND (conflict management OR "conflict resolution") AND (simulat* OR "role play")

2. Extract medical subject headings (MeSH) to enhance your search
  • MeSH terms are assigned to articles in PubMed to help classify the topics of a paper.
  • Select + MeSH Terms below the abstract to see the MeSH terms for that article
  • Jot down the different MeSH terms that you are interested in searching as you peruse several
    articles of interest.
  • Use the MeSH Database to browse terms (located on the homepage of PubMed)

Sample search terms:

Concept A Concept B Concept C Concept D
Conflict Negotiating
Communication
Simulation training
Role playing
Workplace
Program development
Program evaluation
Data collection
Education Measurement
For more medical-related terms, see Medical Education MeSH Terms.
3. Create a search line for each separate concept

Sophisticated search strategy utilizing PubMed’s Advanced link:

Example:

#1 conflict

#2 negotiating OR communication

#3 simulation training OR workplace OR role playing

#4 program development OR program evaluation OR data collection OR educational measurement

4. Formulate searches incorporating MeSH terms

Sample search strategies can be mixed and matched in the Advanced Search Builder boxes:

#1 AND #2 AND #3 – This formula searches for:

conflict AND (negotiating OR communication) AND (simulation training OR workplace OR role playing)

#1 AND #2 AND #3 AND #4 – This formula searches for:

conflict AND (negotiating OR communication) AND (simulation training OR workplace OR role playing) AND (program development OR program evaluation OR data collection OR educational measurement)

(Use filters to narrow your search results, if necessary)
5. Search citations in Web of Science
  1. Connect to the Web of Science database
  2. Enter the title of an article and run a Title search
  3. Click the Times Cited link to get a full list of articles citing this paperTimes cited link on Web of Science results page
Was this topic helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful

Have more questions? Contact us