Steps for a Successful Search
The information on this page will help guide your search when you're ready to look in the databases for research articles.
These are the details and steps you should include in your lit review when describing your search strategy!
Databases & Search Engines
The following databases and search engines are all excellent tools with which to look for research articles. Tutorials for using some of these tools are available on other tabs.
Modifying an Unsuccessful Search
If you aren't happy with the list of articles your search brings back, here are some ways you might think about changing your search.
1. Too many articles / Articles aren't on topic
2. Too few articles
Photo by Anant Nath Sharma, used with permission under a Creative Commons license
Limits vs. Exclusion Criteria
Limits = these are part of your database search, and are set as options in the database itself. They are usually things like article publication dates (e.g. articles published in the last 5 years), language the article is written in, or age of the subjects in the study.
In Ovid, look for the button that says "Additional Limits."
In CINAHL, look for all the check boxes and menus on the search screen or the section that looks like this on the page with the articles from your search.
Exclusion Criteria = these are the reasons you give for not including a study in your literature review. They tend to be things that are not easy to include as a search word and that the database can't select on its own (limits). As an example, for the breast cancer fatigue topic, one of the exclusion criteria will be studies that looked at patients who were still undergoing treatment.