There are several advantages in using a research database to find full-text journal articles on your topic.
Similar to "Google-like" searching where the database will retrieve results based on the terms you enter
Does not take into consideration the context of those terms
Typically retrieves several results, although many may not be relevant to the topic
Keyword searching is very flexible and is a good way to begin a search, especially if you are unsure of the correct terminology to use. As you begin reading through your results, you may notice trends and patterns in terminology that you can then apply and adapt to your search strategy.
|Subject Heading Searching||
A targeted, specific way to search using a database's built-in controlled vocabulary
Various databases have their own subject headings - i.e. CINAHL Headings in CINAHL and the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in MEDLINE/PubMed.
Controlled vocabulary subject headings function like a thesaurus and will take into consideration synonyms, abbreviations, and variations in spelling
Typically retrieves fewer results than keyword searching, yet results are oftentimes more relevant
Boolean operators provide a logical way to combine keyword or subject heading terms using AND, OR, or NOT
"AND" will narrow your search by combining one of more terms together
"OR" will broaden your search by retrieving results on any of the terms you enter
"NOT" will exclude designated terms from your results
Use of quotes will tell the database to retrieve results with that exact phrase
"mindfulness based stress reduction"
Use of parentheses will group desired search terms together in combination with appropriate Boolean operators
(dementia OR "Alzheimer's disease") AND ("fall prevention" OR "fall risk assessment")
Use of an asterisk * searches for anything that comes after the root of a word
nurs* will find nurse, nurses, nursing
anesth* will find anesthetist, anesthesiology, anesthesiological