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Critical Care Medicine

Library resources and services especially for critical care medicine

Patient Care Questions

Patient care questions often need quick answers to timely issues. Below are some resources that can focus search strategies to identify evidence based information for patient care questions.

Research Questions

Step 1: Major Concepts

Once you have chosen your search topic, the next step is to identify what the major concepts are. These major concepts are going to become the terms you search for in the database.

Step 2: Databases

Decide what databases are the best fit for your topic. Depending on your clinical or research question and the type of literature you are looking for, different databases may be searched.

Step 3: Search Terms

The search terms you will be using may not always be the concepts you identify from your topic. It's important to see if there are any controlled vocabulary terms (e.g. MeSH in PubMed, EmTree in Embase, Cinahl Headings in CINAHL) that are related to your concepts, there may even be multiple terms for each concept!

The other important thing to note is when using keywords you need to also identify synonymous terms.

One way to simplify covering all the various iterations of a concept is to use truncation. Truncation is most often accomplished by adding an astrerik (*) at the end of a root word. This will search not only the word you have chosen, but any variation of the word.

Step 4: Combine Terms

Terms are combined using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, and NOT).

The simplest way to think about using Boolean Operators is to combine similar terms (same concept) with OR, and dissimilar terms (different concepts) with AND. The operator NOT should be used with extreme caution.