Answered By: Jeffrey Orrico Last Updated: Mar 02, 2017 Views: 52
As you mentioned, you can use "operators" (sometimes called connectors) such as AND to narrow a search according to Boolean logic. The basic operators are AND, OR, and NOT (sometimes called "AND NOT"), offered as drop-down options in the search window. To illustrate, consider the classic peanut butter sandwich:
- peanut butter AND jelly = only sandwiches with both pb & j (plus any other ingredients)
- peanut butter OR jelly = all sandwiches with either one: just pb, just j, and pb & j (plus any other ingredients)
- peanut butter NOT jelly = no sandwiches with jelly; sandwiches with pb (plus any other ingredients)
Various databases also offer additional operators, such as NEAR/n, PRE/n, and WITHIN.
Another way to narrow your search results is to use the limiting tools offered in databases, such as:
- only articles within certain date ranges
- only articles pertaining to certain geographic areas
- only articles concerning particular age group, gender, ethnic, or other characteristics
- only articles which mention sub-topics (see SUBJECTS limiters)
For health sciences, the use of MESH (medical subject heading) tools offered in some databases (e.g. MEDLINE, PUBMED) allows greater specificity as to a medical diagnosis, test, or treatment.
Similar strategies can draw in additional results through the use of synonyms or broader/alternative subject headings. For example, your element of reminder calls suggests a number of alternative terms that might be used by some writers: message, follow-up, tickler, letter, note, telephone, text, SMS, calendar, monitor, etc.
You are welcome to call (203-371-7726) or visit the Reference Librarians at Ryan-Matura Library to help you refine your search or to arrange an in-depth reference consultation with our Health Sciences Librarian, Geoff Staysniak (email@example.com).