WHERE to Search

Information Databases vs. Google (or Google Scholar)

A lot of library resources can be accessed through the internet, but that does not always mean you can get to them from Google.  

  • Library resources are expensive: enabling access to high quality information.  
  • Library resources are focused: different databases for different research topics.  
  • Library resources give you more search power: you can limit your search by date, research type, age group, peer reviewed, etc.  
  • Google does not allow you to export/download all citations. 
  • Google searches are not reproducible. However, you should still document your process if you search this resource 

HOW to Search

Keyword Searching & Subject Searching

  • Keyword searching is what most people are familiar with.
  • Subject searching can take more time but tends to yield better results.
  • Not all concepts have subject headings, and sometimes, you will want to use both strategies.

     Tips for Keyword Searching:

  • Use synonyms
  • Truncate: In a lot of databases, the symbol is "*". For example, "diagnos*" will bring up articles with diagnosis, diagnosing, diagnostic, diagnostics, etc.
  • Spelling: For instance, pediatrics or paediatrics. For more British spellings, you may want to look at this site
  • Use fields like abstract or title: One way to limit results to more relevant items is to look for keywords in the abstract or title of an article.

     Tips for Subject Searching:

  • Look for the suggestions in the database. For example, MeSH in PubMed or "Suggest Subject Terms" in CINAHL.
  • Search each concept separately so you can take advantage of term mapping.
  • If the term does not map the first time, try a synonymous term. You might also try searching for your term in the title of articles and then look at the subject terms (a.k.a. headings).

Filters/Search Hedges

FIND Full Text

  1. Click the Find It button below each reference to see if full text is available.  Picture of red "Find It" button with white letters saying "Find It".
  2. If there is full text available, click on the Article or Journal link. 

Further Reading/Resources


Please feel free to email us (medlref@iupui.edu) or call (317) 274-7182



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.