While it may be tempting to jump straight into your search, developing a strategy will save you time in the long run as it will help to ensure that you find studies relevant to your question. In general, it is recommended that you work with a librarian to help you design comprehensive search strategies. Contact UVic Libraries to request a consultation.
Revisit your research question to structure your search.
The best way to search is to first break your research question down into its main concepts. This is where using a framework, such as a PICO, is useful. Which framework should I use?
Writing a successful search string takes a knowledge of bibliographic databases. Several search techniques are common to a variety of licensed databases - subject headings, truncation, Boolean operators, and limiters. Depending on your topic, there may also be search filters available to apply to one or more databases.
Understanding Subject Headings
Understanding Boolean Operators
Understanding Limiters and Filters
Evidence synthesis methods require authors to search multiple databases, and not all databases accept the same search "syntax." Each individual database requires use of specialized search syntax, and therefore evidence synthesis search strategies must be 'translated' between databases.
When translating a search strategy from one database to another, you will have to make some changes to get comparable results.