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Master of Health Management and Leadership: Search Techniques

Introduction

Before you start searching online resources, it's good to have a grasp of some of the general techniques of online searching.

Note: Databases and other online resources are similar in what they offer and what they do, but are different in their specific appearance and functionality. It's a good idea to check a database's Help section to check and confirm how to search in that particular database.

For more information please see: Searching in a Database

Common Search Tips

These search tips can help you to find more relevant results in Primo Search and many other library databases. If these tips don't work in the database you are using check their help section for their set of symbols.

Search Operator Example
Use AND to retrieve results that contain both of your search terms. healthcare AND management
Use OR to retrieve results that contain any or all of your search terms. management OR leadership
Using NOT to exclude irrelevant results. drink NOT milk
Combine terms with parentheses to create complex searches. healthcare AND (management OR leadership)
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase "health service"
Search for terms with different word endings using an asterisk. manage* = manages, manager, management
A question mark can be used to replace a single letter within a word. analy?e = analyse, analyze

For information on these search tips and more please see: Searching in a Database

Get better search results

Nesting

If you wish to use different combining operators in the same search, there are two ways that you can do this:

  1. Use an Advanced Search screen with multiple boxes and use a different box for each part of the search:
  2. Use round brackets () to enclose the different parts of the search. You must do this if you are using a single search box. The brackets ensure that the search tool interprets and executes the search exactly as you require.

Field Searching

Database records consist of fields that contain specific pieces of bibliographic information. Common fields include: Author(s); Article title; Journal title; Date/year of publication; Subject headings; Abstract (summary).

Most databases will default to searching in all the main fields, but changing this to search only in a specific field, or fields, can give you more precise results.

For topic searching, it's a good idea to search in the Subject field, but searching in the Title field can work quite well too. If you are searching for an author, you can search only in the Author field; if you are searching for a publication, you can search only in the Publication (also known as the Source) field.

To find the various fields in which you can search, look for drop-down boxes or menus.

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