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Searching for articles for your literature review – example using PubMed

Searching for articles for your literature review – example using PubMed

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Searching for articles for your literature review – example using PubMed

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  1. Searching for articles for your literature review – example using PubMed Katrina Dalziel medlib@swansea.ac.uk

  2. Some basic advice Choose a medical topic of real interest to you Be aware that for some subjects the pool of published primary research is small Do some ‘quick & dirty’ searches to identify trends, language and vocabulary used for your topic

  3. How are searches constructed • Conceptual breakdown of the research question • Identify search terms • Boolean operators AND/OR/NOT • Truncation

  4. Topic into research question • I’m interested in people using hypnosis to stop smoking. • Maybe younger people • Does it work? Is hypnosis effective in reducing smoking levels in teenagers?

  5. Identifying search terms • Within concepts • Think about search terms which may be in the title, abstract or subject headings of an article • Synonyms • Related terms • Consider more general/specific terms • Consider different spellings e.g. Pre-hospital/”out of hospital”/roadside/emergency/ out-of-hospital/ambulance

  6. ‘Is hypnosis effective in reducing smoking levels in teenagers?’ – Key word search

  7. ‘Is hypnosis effective in reducing smoking levels in teenagers?’ – MeSH Subject headings & subheadings

  8. Combining search concepts • AND – combines 2 different concepts to make results smaller • OR – combines similar search terms within one concept to make results bigger • NOT – excludes terms or concepts BUT use with care – may exclude relevant items

  9. Truncation • Truncation symbol in most databases is the asterisk * • e.g. hypnotherap* would pick up hypnotherapy or hypnotherapies • Assess which terms could benefit from truncation

  10. Adapting your search Explore and test your terms and truncation! Too many records? Remove the least helpful terms Add another concept Not many records? Explore effect of removing a concept Add in some broader terms to concepts in use There may be only be a small literature More concepts usually produces fewer results Fewer concepts usually produces more results

  11. Sample PubMed strategy • Hypnosis [mh] OR hypnosis [tiab] OR hypnoses [tiab] OR hypnotism [tiab] OR hypnotherp* [tiab] OR authhypnos* [tiab] • Smoking [mh] OR tobacco [mh] OR nicotine [mh: noexp] OR smok* [tiab] OR tobacco [tiab] OR nicotine [tiab] OR cigarette* [tiab] • Adolescent [mh] OR teenage* [tiab] OR adolescen* [tiab] OR juvenile* [tiab] OR youth* [tiab] OR “young people” [tiab] OR “young person*” [tiab] [tiab] = title/abstract [mh] = major heading Find all PubMed search tags at: http://tinyurl.com/ak2jt9z

  12. Critical Appraisal of the articles • Is it of interest? • Why was it done? • How was it done? • What has it found? • What are the implications? • What else is of interest? Crombie, I. K. (1996). The pocket guide to critical appraisal. London: BMJ Publishing.

  13. Critical Appraisal checklists Several available. Best known are; • CASP • CEBM

  14. Summary • Research questions need to be broken down into concepts • Combine concepts using AND • Identify search terms • Within concepts link search terms using OR • Use appropriate search tools • All searches are tradeoffs • There is rarely a single ‘right’ search • Appraise the evidence you find • Ask a Librarian! medlib@swansea.ac.uk

  15. Contact us Email medlib@swansea.ac.uk k.dalziel@swansea.ac.uk c.boucher@swansea.ac.uk Twitter @dalziel1 Telephone 01792 513305 01792 295040