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College of Rehabilitation Sciences

Guide for OT, PT, RT, and MSc Rehab

Search Tutorials

Select the tutorial to view to find information, searching instructions, and documents to help you develop your search. Note: content comes from OT 7752, some of the examples are in that context, however, it applies directly to this course as well.

  1. Overview of search process (1 video)
  2. Protocols and Search Maps (4 slides: overview, 2 videos, 1 PDF)
  3. Record Keeping (4 slides: overview, 2 videos, 1 webpage)
  4. Searching (9 slides, 5 videos, 3 resource slides)
  5. Database Translation (2 slides, 1 video)
  6. Record Management (1 video, 1 slide)

Class Materials


Pro Tips

Pro Tips

1.Search one term or phrase at a time – this ensures accuracy and gives you the ability to easily edit your search
2.Search one concept at a time and then create the set that represents that concept
3.Combine the concept sets and apply filter and limits last

Wildcards and Truncation

Truncation / Wildcards

OVID (Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO...): * or $ used for unlimited right-hand truncation, i.e. gene$ or gene* stands for gene, genes, genetics...; # stands for one character within a word, i.e. wom#n finds women or woman; ? stands for zero or one characters within a word, i.e. colo?r finds color or colour.

EBSChost (CINAHL, SPORTDiscus): * used for unlimited right-hand truncation, i.e. gene* stands for gene, genes, genetics...; stands for one character within a word, i.e. wom#n finds women or woman. More detailed information found on this page

"Phrase Searching"

All databases: use quotation marks ("word phrase") to find specific phrase, i.e. "university student" will that exact phrase, will ignore all articles where university is in one part of the record and student is in another part of the record.


Used to force a database to search the contents with in the parentheses first and before combining the whole search string, i.e. (arm OR wrist OR elbow) AND (splint OR immobilization) would first search  arm or wrist or elbow to create one group, then splint or immobilization before combining those two sets together. As a rule of thumb only use the OR operator within parentheses.