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College of Rehabilitation Sciences: Search Strategy

Guide for OT, PT, RT, and MSc Rehab

SEARCH MAPS MAKE FOR BETTER SEARCHING

  • A search map is a good way to organize your search
  • A search map consists of a series of columns
  • Each column is used for the individual concepts identified in your search question
  • List terms and phrases that reflect that concept in the column
  • Be careful of having too many columns, search maps with more than 3 columns usually yield too few results 

‚Äč

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3

terms and phrases that 

reflect concept 1

 

terms and phrases that 

reflect concept 2

terms and phrases that 

reflect concept 3

 

BUILD CONCEPTS WITH A SEARCH MAP

  • A search maps is a great tool to help you build a search
  • It helps you organize your search as well as how to use Boolean Operators correctly
  • Within a column, the terms and phrases that reflect your concept, you use OR
  • When you combine different columns you use AND

Example: Are allied health professionals effective in counseling stroke patients on constraint induced movement therapy? 

stroke

OR

cerebrolvascular accident

OR 

cerebral vascular accident

OR 

CVA

 

 

AND

 

 

constraint induced movement therapy

OR

CIMT

 

 

AND

 

occupational thereap*

OR 

physical therap*

OR

physiotherap*

  • Using parentheses the search would look like this: (stroke OR cerebralvascular accident OR cerebral vascular accident OR  CVA) AND (constraint induced movement therapy OR CIMT) AND (occupational therap* OR physical thearp* OR physiotherap*)
  • The asterisk at the end of some words is a wildcard which is used to find alternate endings, see Tuncation for more information. 

THE ORDER FOR EXECUTING SEARCHES

  • Databases follow search orders exactly as you type them into the search box
  • Databases do not know which terms in your search are synonyms and which ones are different and will combine them in the order they are entered in search box, if you are not careful about how you do this you will not get the results you are seeking
  • First, group synonyms terms using parentheses, use OR in between those terms, e.g. (acetaminophen OR ibuprofen OR aspirin), the database will search this as a group first before combining it with the next term or group of terms
  • When you have completed searching the synonyms terms add the results of those groups together using AND, e.g. (acetaminophen OR ibuprofen OR aspirin) AND (low back pain OR chronic back pain)

GET HELP

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