1. Choose your keywords
List the keyword(s) or phrases that describe the major concept(s), including words or phrases that mean the same thing (synonyms) and alternative spellings. For example, if you have been asked to write about skin cancer prevention in Australia, then you may considering using the keywords neoplasms AND skin AND Australia AND prevention
2. Choose a suitable database
You may wish to start with a general database such as Proquest Central. Don’t forget, the more specific the database, the more you will need to consider appropriate keywords and filters.
3. Perform your search
Combine words with AND to find articles with both words. Using AND gives you less results (e.g. "skin cancer" AND Australia)
Use OR to combine synonyms (e.g. television OR TV). Using OR gives you more results
Use truncation to expand your search. (e.g. Austral* will include Australia, Australasian, Australian, etc)
4. Analyse your results
If you got too many results you may need to narrow your search by adding more keywords to be more specific. You may also limit to full-text articles, limit by date, limit to peer-reviewed etc
If you have too few results take out some keywords or try a different set of keywords. When you find an article that is just right, note the subject headings, look at their reference list or look through the article for ideas on other words you can use to help you search further
Finding nothing? You may have selected the wrong keyword(s) or database. Try using more general terms to broaden your search or try another database.
5. Save the article
Print the article, save it onto your computer or export it to EndNote. Exporting the reference to EndNote automatically saves a link to the article.