Searching the literature to support evidence-based practice requires the use of filtering strategies. Like a magnet in a haystack, a search strategy helps to systematically apply limits to database search results to sift through the profusion of published literature.
Limits to use:
Limits to avoid:
The instructions below depict beginning strategies for limiting by publication type (or methodology) in each selected database.
Limiting (filtering) strategies:
The InterTASC Information Specialists' Sub-Group Search Filter Resource is a collaborative venture to identify, assess and test search filters designed to retrieve research by study design.
CINAHLPlus Indexes >3,800 journals from the fields of nursing & allied health, with indexing for selected journals back to 1937. Topics covered are related to nursing, PT, health education, social service, healthcare, OT, & related disciplines.
CINAHLPlus at NYU is available from: http://arch.library.nyu.edu/databases/proxy/NYU00202
More limiting strategies in CINAHLPlus:
–A detailed explanation of the strategies behind these limits can be found at http://hiru.mcmaster.ca/hiru/HIRU_Hedges_home.aspx
If the popular Filters described above do not include your "study type," try a search using PubMed MeSH terms available for study methodologies:
Unlike CINAHLPlus, Medline does not have a publication type that simply says “Research,” but you may filter your results for higher levels of evidence by limiting to Article type, for example,
“clinical trial or meta-analysis or randomized controlled trial.”
Medline (via Ovid) at NYU is available from: http://arch.library.nyu.edu/databases/proxy/NYU00117
More Medline (via Ovid) Limits:
Using the EBM Reviews limit will allow you to ‘OR’ together any of the following limits: Cochrane Topic Reviews, ACP Article Reviews or DARE Article Reviews.
Limiting using “Clinical Queries” will restrict retrieval to clinically sound studies in nine categories provided, and the emphasis may be Sensitive (i.e., most relevant articles but probably some less relevant ones), Specific (i.e., mostly relevant articles but probably omitting a few), or Optimized (i.e., the combination of terms that optimizes the trade-off between sensitivity and specificity). A detailed explanation of the strategies behind these limits can be found at http://hiru.mcmaster.ca/hiru/HIRU_Hedges_home.aspx
PsycINFO (via Ovid) (1887-present.) Abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences, with material of relevance to psychologists and professionals in related fields such as psychiatry, management, business, education, social science, neuroscience, law, medicine, and social work plus many health-related fields, including all aspects of mental health, nursing, health administration, pharmacology, rehabilitation, and epidemiology.
When you have performed a search by topic in PsycINFO, you may then choose to restrict your search to one or more “Methodology.”
You may choose to scroll through your retrieved citations and notice the “Methodology” field to see what kind of article you are viewing. Or you may LIMIT your search electronically.
PsycINFO (via Ovid) is at NYU is available from: http://arch.library.nyu.edu/databases/proxy/NYU00201
PsycINFO (via APAPsycNet) (1887-present.) Available from: https://arch.library.
Proquest is a multidisciplinary resource for research on contemporary topics or for the beginning stages of a research project.
Proquest at NYU is available from: http://arch.library.nyu.edu/databases/proxy/NYU02080
Check the Limit boxes as shown to search only scholarly journals or peer-reviewed journals. Leave the box empty to include other sources in your search.
A publication is considered to be Scholarly if it is published for an academic audience by a recognized society with academic goals and missions.
A publication is considered to be Peer-reviewed if it has been assessed by other scholars in the same field for quality of scholarship, relevance to the field, and appropriateness for the journal. Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer reviewed. Some trade publications and magazine are also peer reviewed.
"Peer reviewed" (or "refereed" journals) are those that subject content to a critical review by other experts in the field prior to accepting a manuscript for publication. Thus, limiting your literature search to the peer-reviewed journals ensures a higher level of scholarship and research methodology. Magazines, trade journals, and newspapers tend to be "non-peer-reviewed," meaning perhaps just the editor or someone who is not an expert in the field has reviewed the content before publishing. How do you know if a journal citation is from a peer-reviewed journal?