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Health Information Sources & Searching

A guide to finding, identifying, and critically appraising health information.

Advanced Database Searching

  1. Break down your research question or topic into smaller concepts.
  2. For each concept, list the synonyms and related terms.
    • Separate those terms with the Boolean OR.
  3. Combine the concepts, which are made up of related words, with the Boolean AND.
    • Keep the words for each concept together with parentheses – this is called nesting.
    • Consider creating your search with the Advanced Search feature available on most databases for a guided search.
  4. Run your search, review the results, and revise as necessary.

Using the Advanced Search Feature

  1. Click on the advanced search link usually located below or next to the search box on most database search pages. 
  2. Add all of the synonyms and related terms separated by the Boolean OR for a concept in a search box.
    • Each concept gets its own line

  • To add more lines/concept/rows, click on the plus icon or add button. This will vary by database.

        3. Run the search

Learn more about performing advanced searches by visiting the database’s help pages. 

Advanced Searches in PubMed

Steps for performing advanced searches in PubMed.

  1. Click on the Advanced link

  1. Add terms for a single concept to the search box and click the ADD button
  2. Add terms for a different concept to the empty search box and click the AND button
  3. Repeat Step 3 for each new concept
  4. Run the search

See the Advanced Search page on the PubMed GalterGuide for more instructions.