Systematic reviews: Performing the search

Advanced searching

For more precise searching try:

  • Selecting a field to search.
  • Using NOT (AND NOT) to discount subject terms (but use sparingly).
  • Using proximity searches, eg words within (say) five words of each other. The process varies between databases: see their HELP screens.
  • Using subject headings. These are controlled and consistent within a database, and are arranged in a hierarchy to show their relationship, but they will vary between databases.

Use the search history

Use the Search history to follow the searches you have carried out in this session.

In Cinahl and other Ebsco databases select the Search history link under the search boxes.



Print the search history at the end of the session to record details, such as date, database, results etc for your report.

Basic searching techniques

Four techniques to quickly aid your searching:

*   rehab*

""   "hand therapy"

AND   metacarpal AND rehabilitation

OR   elderly OR geriatric

Narrowing the results

Databases allow you to narrow down results by facets.

These are generally on the left of the results and typically include type of publication, date, details of population (eg age).

They will allow you to narrow your results to peer reviewed journals.