Evidence-Based Practice: Access (Search)

Quick Tips for Searching using Keywords

Once you have established your PICO, you need to translate it into a search string:

  • Each PICO element will become a separate searchable concept.
  • You can then identify additional keywords for each concept.
  • Then combine your keywords and concepts using AND/OR.


Learn more below.

Text mining tools

Trouble identifying keywords? Try using one of these tools! 



Primary vs Secondary Databses

Once you have created a search strategy, this can then be applied to both Primary and Secondary databases.


Primary Databases Secondary Databases

Comprehensive indexes to research literature

Contain references to a wide range of original research (including clinical studies, RCTs etc )

Primary databases may be very specific in subject content, or they may be multidisciplinary.

Only contain references to articles that have been assessed and sometimes scored or appraised according to set criteria such as a hierarchy of evidence (eg systematic reviews etc)

Usually much smaller than primary databases.

Many secondary databases are available freely on the internet.

Navigate to Where to search page

Navigate to clinical trials page

Navigate to clinical guidelines page

Navigate to search the grey literature page

Navigate to review your search page

Navigate to report search results page

Navigate to videos page