Developing search terms from your research question
Example: What is the effect of traffic-related air pollution on blood pressure?
Gather synonyms for each part of the question. Finding a few good articles by searching your key words in the article title. Looking at the subject words, indexing terms, or author keywords for a relevant article can help identify synonyms and related concepts.
List the terms and synonyms for each concept in a separate line.
Enter your search terms in separate lines in the database search engine
1: vehicle* OR traffic OR trucks OR cars
2: exhaust OR emissions OR pollution OR fumes
3: blood pressure OR hypertension
Combine the three concepts to find citations that have at least one term from each grouping.
4. 1 AND 2 AND 3
Notes about Connectors (OR, AND, NOT)
Use “OR” when searching synonyms or alternative terms. Articles containing any of the ORed words will appear in the search results.
(wine OR chocolate) AND heart health
Terms connected with “AND” must all show up in each article retrieved.
“NOT” will remove articles containing particular terms.
(smoking AND cancer) NOT children – eliminates articles discussing children, including articles that discuss both adults and children.
You can combine terms into one search statement successfully by placing the terms in parentheses that you want to process first:
Blood pressure AND (vehicle* OR traffic) AND (emissions OR particulates OR exhaust)
No References or Too Few References
Too Many References