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USP 144: Environmental And Preventive Health Issues: Searching Tips

Searching for USP 144 Assignment

Knowing which database(s) to use is a key first step. One of the databases you will most likely use is PubMed.

You may also find good resources in Academic Search CompleteBusiness Source Complete, PsycInfo, or Web of Science.

Here are some tips for these databases.

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Tips for Searching PubMed


This is an international database, indexing over 5,200 journals from over 80 countries. It has a tremendous archive of citations to articles going back over 100 years - so be sure to watch the date the article was published or better, yet, use a "filter" to get citations for the past 3 years. The scope of topics is wide ranging from basic science to clinical medicine, and includes nursing, public health and psychology articles.

Key Tips:

  • Limiting to the last 3 years: very important to remember to do.
    Since PubMed serves up your results in date order - most recent at the top, you can watch for the first out-of-date article and stop there.  But, to be more precise, use the filter links to the right of your search results.    Then use the option under "Publication Dates." A default setting is for the last 5 years, but you can set a "custom range" then all you need to enter is the earliest year you want, e.g., 2010.  You can leave the end date open - click apply. 

  • Don't forget there may be other limits of interest, i.e., English, human, type of article (review or clinical trial), etc.
  • Using MeSH terms: special controlled vocabulary terms that can help you focus the search to the topic you need. See a demonstration of using MeSH terms at the NLM's web site.

Search Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete

A great multi-disciplinary database and one that is great for the debate look up topics.  Spend a little time picking good search terms and don't forget that you might need synonymous terms - for example, vaccines OR immunization.  This database has all types of literature from general interest periodicals (magazines like Time) to peer-reviewed journals (like Journal of the American Medical Association) to books to newspapers and more.

Key Tips:

  • Limit to Scholarly Journals -- if you need weightier evidence, the stronger evidence is found in scholarly journals instead of popular magazines.  Skip all the non-scholarly items with this option.

Searching Tips for Business Source Complete

Business Source Complete

The database for a topic that has or might have an economic or financial component. It covers scholarly journals and trade magazines in business, management, finance, economics, accounting, marketing, etc and covers many areas related to medicine and public health. Many publications include online full-text.

Key Tips:

  • Limit to Scholarly Journals: when entering your search terms, be sure to scroll down to use the limit that makes sure all of your results are scholarly.