Skip to Main Content

Evidence Based Practice: Performing a search

Searching specific databases

Because databases use different syntax and subject headings, you'll need to adapt your strategy to fit each database you plan to search.

To build comprehensive searches in specific medicine and health databases, refer to these quick search guides.


Troubleshooting a search

Tips for resolving three common search problems:

Too many results Too few results Irrelevant results
  • Add limits to your results (date range, publication type, etc.)
  • Add more concepts (location, age range, etc.)
  • Use more specific terms
  • Use broader or more general search terms
  • Remove limits
  • Remove concepts if possible
  • Use a different database
  • Remove terms with more than one meaning
  • Use terms or subject headings used in useful or relevant articles


Limits and filters



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