Planning a Search
To find the best evidence to answer a clinical question, you need a strong search strategy. A good search strategy should include advanced search syntax and alternative search terms. Use the literature search plans below to plan and organise your search strategy.
Advanced search syntax
Advanced search syntax, such as truncation and wildcards, can be used to improve the results of your database searches. The file below includes key operators that can be incorporated into an evidence-based practice search.
Alternative search terms
When searching for evidence based literature, it's important to include synonyms and alternative terms to find all relevant literature. This can include words that are spelled differently overseas (e.g. paediatric and pediatric), concepts that are referred to differently (e.g. physiotherapy and physical therapy), conditions with both formal and informal names (e.g. heart attack and myocardial infarction) and terms that have changed over time (e.g. exercise induced asthma and exercise induced bronchospasm).
Refining a search
If you have too many results:
If you don't have enough results:
If your results are completely irrelevant:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have died.
The University of Sydney Library acknowledges that its facilities sit on the ancestral lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have for thousands of generations exchanged knowledge for the benefit of all. Learn more