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Expanding a search:

If you are not getting enough relevant results try some of the following methods.

  • Check your spelling.

  • Check you have combined your searches correctly.

  • Follow the Pearl growing strategies.

  • Use truncation to expand the terms you are searching for (if the database you are using allows truncation)
    eg, autis* = autism, autistic

  • Think of synonyms for your search terms
    eg, disparities OR inequality OR unequal ; advance care planning OR advance care plans OR advanced directives OR advance directives

  • Use broader terms to describe your topic ie take your perspective up to a broader level
    eg, Myocardial Ischemia instead of Coronary Disease or Myocardial Infarction.

  • Find a subject heading that covers your topic
    eg, pressure ulcer instead of the keyword bedsores.

  • Remove the least important concept eg exercise AND chemotherapy instead of exercise AND chemotherapy AND effect (be careful using 'judgement' words such as benefits, beneficial, impact, outcome, effects etc as part of your search strategy).

  • Check if you can explode MeSH, or a heading in CINAHL Plus, Embase or APA PsycINFO.

  • Make sure you have tried english and american spellings eg, cesarean OR caesarean.

  • Try a different database.

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