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Science of Health Care Delivery & SHCD Capstone

Pubmed citations to RefWorks

See the step by step instructions on the RefWorks Library Guide, Adding References page - Exporting PubMed References

Search Strategies

Once you've chosen a topic and have created a focused research question, you're ready to search the literature!

  • Topic: How can we improve healthcare and lower costs?
  • Research question: Can the use of electronic healthcare records systems improve the quality and cost of healthcare?

General Searching Tips for most research databases, including Google Scholar:

  • Use " " to search for a specific phrase like "electronic health records"
  • Use * to get all forms of a word: child* = child, children, childhood
  • Use ( ) with OR between synonyms to group synonyms for expanded searching: (AZ OR Arizona)
  • Use AND between synonym groups to add groups together in keyword searching: (AZ OR Arizona) AND (child* OR adolescen* OR teen*)

Below are 4 major search strategies:

  • Basic Keyword search
    • Advantages - quick and easy, uses everyday words and phrases or discipline-specific terminology; likely to get most up to date results including references that haven't been indexed wtih the research databases' subject headings
    • Disadvantages - may not retrieve all of the best results; depends on the words you choose to use
  • Synonyms Keyword search
    • Advantages - broader than a basic keyword search, gets more results, you can use everyday words and discipline-specific terminology
    • Disadvantages - may not retrieve all of the best results; depends on the words you choose to use
  • Targeted Keyword search (searching for keywords in the title of references, or in the title and abstract of references
    • Advantages - often more relevant results since the title or the title&abstract will reference the most important topics of the study/article; Use the Subject Headings (listed in each article's information) or other important keywords you see in these highly relevant results to build another, more expanded search
    • Disadvantages - more restrictive than general keyword searching
  • Subject Heading search
    • Advantages - get targeted, subject-specific results quickly, regardless of the words used in the title, abstract, or elsewhere
    • Disadvantages - may not retrieve the most up to date results if those results haven't had subject headings applied to them; may not match up with all articles on the topic, though it should get the majority of the topic-focused results

Basic Keyword Search

First Basic Keyword Search

cost effective healthcare and electronic healthcare records

Synonyms Keyword Search

Expanded Synonyms Keyword Search

  • Group synonyms with ()
  • Use all caps for the OR between each synonym in the groups, and for the AND between each group of synonyms

(cost OR cost-effectiv*) AND (health care OR healthcare) AND (electronic health records OR EHR)

Targeted Keyword Search - in Title or Title/Abstract

Targeted Keyword Search

  • More relevant results
  • May leave out results that use different words to describe the topic, and/or that don't use these keywords in the title or in the abstract

Keywords in Title:

  • use [ti] after each keyword

(cost[ti] OR cost-effectiv*[ti]) AND (health care[ti] OR healthcare[ti]) AND (electronic health records[ti] OR EHR[ti])

Keywords in Title/Abstract:

  • use [title/abstract] after each keyword

(cost[title/abstract] OR cost-effectiv*[title/abstract]) AND (health care[title/abstract] OR healthcare[title/abstract]) AND (electronic health records[title/abstract] OR EHR[title/abstract])

Keywords in Title:

Keywords in Title/Abstract:

Subject Heading Search

Subject Heading Search:

  • In PubMed, the subject headings are called 'MeSH' - Medical Subject Headings.  Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and some other databases use MeSH or similar headings as well
  • Most research databases use subject headings of some type
  • In PubMed, use [mh] or [Mesh] after each keyword

(Not sure what the MeSH subject headings are for your topic?  See below for how to search the MeSH index.)

PubMed MeSH Search

 (("Costs and Cost Analysis"[Mesh] OR "Cost-Benefit Analysis"[Mesh] OR "Health Care Costs"[Mesh] OR "Hospital Costs"[Mesh])) AND "Electronic Health Records"[Mesh])

Search the MeSH Index for a MeSH heading

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