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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Systematic Reviews: SR and other comprehensive literature search project support

Developing your Search Strategy (Concept Table)

Before you start searching databases, answer the following questions:

  1. What is your Research Question?

  2. What are the key concepts in your question?

  3. Which language(s) do you want to search?

  4. What years do you want to include?

  5. Which databases do you want to search?

For each database you search fill in a search concept table

Blank concept table (Word doc) (PDF) developed by Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University

For each database, record:

  • database name
  • date searched
  • years covered
  • exact search strategy used
    • save strategy for future use (e.g. Save PubMed searches in MyNCBI)

Example:

Concept tables for PubMed and PsycINFO for the research question Compare the effectiveness of acupuncture vs. hypnosis for smoking cessation

 

 PUBMED concept: smoking cessation concept: hypnosis concept: acupuncture

Database Thesaurus Terms
(Mesh terms)

 smoking cessation
 smoking/prevention and control
 smoking/therapy
 tobacco use disorder/prevention and control
 tobacco use disorder/therapy

 hypnotherapy  acupuncture therapy
Keywords

 
 smoking
 smoker*
 

 hypnosis
 hypnotherapy

 acupuncture
 acupressure

 

(“smoking cessation”[Mesh] OR “smoking/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “smoking/therapy”[Mesh] OR “tobacco use disorder/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “tobacco use disorder/therapy”[Mesh] OR smoking OR smoker*)
AND
(
“hypnotherapy”[Mesh] OR hypnosis OR hypnotherapy)
AND
(
“acupuncture therapy”[Mesh] OR acupuncture OR acupressure)

 

 PsycINFO concept: smoking cessation concept: hypnosis concept: acupuncture
Database Thesaurus Terms

 smoking cessation
 tobacco smoking
 tobacco use disorder

hypnosis
hypnotherapy

autohypnosis

 acupuncture

Keywords

 
 smoking
 smoker*
 

 hypnosis
 hypnotherapy

 acupuncture
 acupressure

 

(DE "Smoking Cessation" OR  DE "Tobacco Smoking" OR DE "Tobacco Use Disorder" OR smoking OR smoker*)
AND
(
DE "Hypnosis" OR DE "Hypnotherapy" OR DE "Autohypnosis" OR hypnosis OR hypnotherapy)
AND
(
DE “Acupuncture” OR acupuncture OR acupressure)

Selecting Databases

Journal article databases

Core:

Speciality:

For additional specialty databases, see:

Grey Literature: beyond journal articles (eg conference proceedings, dissertations, unpublished reports, etc.)

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