No - this is not permitted.
Devising a search strategy is a fundamental element of your assessed programme.
The Library does offer support on:
It is possible to use a number of different keywords or search terms in a single search, by using operators.
Operators link your search terms and define the relationship between them.
This enables more accurate searching and therefore more relevant results being returned. It also saves you time as you don't have to carry out numerous similar searches where just one or two search terms are changed each time.
The three most commonly used operators are AND, OR, NOT. These are known as Boolean operators. They can be used to broaden or narrow a search and to exclude unwanted search terms and concepts.
Use AND to narrow your search.
Using AND between your search terms narrows your search as it instructs the database that all your search terms must appear (in any order).
For example: CBT AND depression
- will only return results where both words are present
Because all search terms must be present, using AND makes the search more focused.
In some (but not all) databases and search engines the AND is implied so if you enter multiple words the database will search for results which contain all/both words.
Use OR to broaden your search.
Using OR between search terms broadens your results as any or all of your search terms can be present.
For example: adolescent OR teenager
- will return results where either one or both of these words are present
It is extremely useful for finding synonyms or related concepts.
Using OR enables you to carry out a number of similar searches in one go, saving you time.
Use NOT to narrow your search.
Using NOT narrows your search as it instructs the database to ignore results that contain particular words.
For example: social media NOT twitter
- will return results that include social media but do not include twitter
NOT tends to be used less than the And and OR operators.
Use it with care as you may exclude useful articles which cover a range of topics of relevance to you.
Databases usually process the Boolean operators in a logical order. They typically recognise AND as the primary operator and will connect concepts with AND together first.
When using a combination of AND and OR operators in one search, use parentheses (brackets) to group the OR words together so that your search is processed correctly. Alternatively, use the Advanced Search option to separate out your search terms (entering each concepts keywords in a separate search box), this saves you having to add the parentheses.
Truncation is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.
To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end.
The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
The asterisk * symbol is most commonly used for truncation. However, check out the help screens as !, ?, or # may also be used.
child* will find child, children, childlike, childhood etc.
Use it with care to avoid finding too many alternatives.
Wildcards are similar to truncation but they are used to substitute for a single letter or no letter in a word.
They broaden your search by including variant word spellings.
The question mark symbol is most commonly used. However, check out the help screens as ! , *, or # may also be used.
wom?n will find woman and women
optimi?ation will find optimisation and optimization
model?ing will find modeling and modelling
Phrase searching is the most limiting technique as it is used to specify that your terms must appear next to each other, and in the order you specify.
Phrase searching is commonly achieved by surrounding your phrase with quotation marks.
Always check the Database Help screens, as some databases may use different symbols.
Phrase searching examples:
"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy"
Proximity searching can help to both increase or narrow your results. It can increase your results when "phrase searching" is too restrictive.
Using an operator such as ADJ or NEAR to define the proximity between your keywords can be helpful in increasing the precision of your results compared with using AND to combine the keywords
e.g. mindfulness ADJ3 treatment returns results with the keywords "mindfulness" and "treatment" within three words of each other in either direction.
Tip - check the help section of the database you are using as these operators differ across different databases.
Proximity searching should be used with caution in systematic reviews to avoid losing relevant studies.
Records in databases are made up of fields containing pieces of bibliographic information which describe the item in details.
Fields differ between databases but common fields include:
If you are overwhelmed by search results, then using field searching can make your search more focused as databases usually run a keyword search against the full database record leading to a wider search.
A search string or strategy is a combination of keywords, truncation symbols, and boolean operators you enter into the search box of a database.
(pain* OR discomfort OR “chronic pain”) AND (mindful* OR MBCT) AND (depress* OR anxi*)
asterisk * symbol is used for truncation i.e. to find various word endings and spellings for pain, mindfulness, depression and anxiety.
quotation marks " " are used to phrase search the term chronic pain i.e. to specify that the terms must appear next to each other, and in the order you specify to avoid finding instances of these two terms separately within an article.
OR is used to find the alternative words used to describe a concept or idea, for example, the different terms you may use to describe pain.
Brackets are used to group the OR words together so they are processed together (if you are using the multi-field search option the database automatically enters the brackets around each search box).
AND is used to link the search concepts together and find material that contains all aspects of your question.
If you are entering your search in one search box it is important that you use AND, OR and Brackets in combination so that the search is processed correctly.
Alternatively, use the Advanced Search or Multi-Field Search options to separate out your search terms (entering each concepts keywords in a separate search box), this saves you having to add the parentheses.
Remember you will need to describe your search strategy in your write up. It is easier to record this information as you go, than to try and remember it later!
You will need to include:
It can also be helpful to note down the date of your searches for your own records.
Contact Us or Give Feedback