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USP 143: The U.S. Health Care System: Searching Tips

This guide supports the research activity of the USP 143 class that is an overview of the organization of health care within the context of the community with emphasis on the political, social, and cultural influences.

Searching for USP 143 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

  • Business Source Premier,
  • PsycInfo, or
  • Web of Science.

The following are details and some tips for each of these databases.

Google Search Tip

Not sure how to find your topic at one of these sites?  Or, maybe, you don't like their search capability?  You can let Google help.  Now that you know about these organizations, use part of their URL and search with your topic.  For example, Google:

health-care reform

This will bring up results for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation specifically dealing with health care reform. 

Google Web Search

If you search here, be sure to use good search technique.  For example:

  • Include words like:  statistics OR data 
  • Use site:gov for government sites
  • Use tip above -- use a more specific URL to search a site

Google Journal Article Search

Remember to adjust for the correct span of years -- on the results page, set a custom range of years if the preset ones aren't quite right.

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 to the early 1950s - so be sure to watch the date the article was published or better, yet, use a "Limit" 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    Since PubMed serves up your results in date order - most recent at the top, you can watch for the first out-of-date article and stop there.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 to get just those years.  

  • Don't forget there may be other filters 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.

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.

Searching Tips for PsycINFO


This database is for any topic that has a psychological or behavioral component. It is a very large database covering psychiatry, psychology, and the psychological aspects of medicine, nursing & allied health.

video tutorial - From searching to locating your articles - about 9 minutes