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Biomedical & Engineering Resources for Summer Scholars: Search Tips & Tutorials

Information resources for summer Scholars.

Search Strategies

Be Specific and Take Control Using AND & OR

Boolean Operators

Limits provide database-specific recommendations for narrowing a search. Applying limits will filter out results that don’t meet your search requirements. This will save you time because you won’t need to look through pages of search results that don’t include the information that you need Each database offers different limits. Be sure to check them out to see how they can help you with your search.

For example: In the database, Historical Abstracts, you can filter your search results for peer review, publication date, document type, language, subject, etc.

The image below illustrates how applying limits will help you to narrow
your search results.


It's important to know that databases use subject headings to organize their articles. When you know the right subject headings for your topic, you can search more efficiently. Starting out on a new topic, you won't know the subject terminology. A simple way to find them is to start with a keyword search. When you find an article title that meets your needs, look for the subject headings assigned to that article. In most cases, those subject headings are hyperlinked and will take you to a list of articles with the same subject heading.

When you find an article that you think will be a good to use, you can take advantage of “related articles” to find similar articles. Databases have different formulas for determining how an article is “related,” but it usually is a combination of same keywords and descriptors.

You can usually find a list of related articles on the results screen of the database.

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Tips for Your Search Strategy

5 Search Strategy Tips

  1. Be Specific - use the most specific terms you have.
  2. Browse - when you are uncertain of the right topic or terms, look online, browse through books, talk with friends and mentors.
  3. Have expectations and assumption about what you want or anticipate finding.
  4. Think & Plan - think like an author and plan best resource(s) to use.
  5. Learn to work the tools - From advanced search to filters & limits, learn how to work the tools and resources because a little finesse can save you lots of time.