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HIP202 Research Skills Guide: OTseeker

Introduction to OTseeker

OTseeker is a free Australian online database of evidence-based practice material related to occupational therapy

This resource gives access to citations and (sometimes) abstracts of journal articles.

Pros and cons: advantages of using OTseeker:

  • The database covers only occupational therapy-related material
  • The database also covers only Evidence-Based Practice material
  • It's a free resource, so you will have access to it even after graduating
  • The provision of text boxes and drop-down menus, in Advanced Search, allows for flexibility in searching
  • Trials have been rated to help you assess their validity
  • Search results are listed in a level-of-evidence hierarchy.

Pros and cons: disadvantages of using OTseeker:

  • It's a relatively small database
  • Items are limited to only Systematic Reviews (SRs) and Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)
  • There are only limited direct links to full-text, and there are no Find It - CSU links (so you can't link through to Charles Sturt subscribed materials)
  • The search functionality is not as sophisticated as in larger health databases - eg. there is a Search History but you can't use it to combine search sets. The structure and functionality of the lines of search in Advanced Search can be a bit confusing
  • OTseeker itself admits: "Due to a lack of funding for OTseeker, content on OTseeker from 2016 and beyond is not as comprehensive as previously. Therefore, we recommend that users of OTseeker also search for more recent evidence using other freely available search engines and databases such as PEDro, and PubMed."

Hints on using OTseeker


OTseeker defaults to Basic Search. You can use the search box to retrieve articles that contain, in their abstract or title, the keyword/s you specified.



You can use Advanced Search. There are four types of searching you can do:

  • using the Any Field box
  • using the text field boxes. There are 3 options: Title/Abstract; Author’s Surname; Journal
  • using the Year Published (not just a limiter!)
  • using the drop-downs: 6 options: Intervention; Diagnosis-Subdiscipline; Method; Internal Validity Score; Statistical Reporting Criteria; Age-Group. Again, these are not just limiters.

You can combine the different lines of search using Boolean (combining) operators.

NOTE: if you are using the Any Field box, and wish search for a specific phrase, you need to enclose it in double quotation marks. But if you are using a text field box, OTseeker will search for the exact phrase of the words you enter (and you mustn't use double quotation marks).



Your results will be presented as brief records. They are sorted by relevance, but you can change this. You can click on a title to view the article details. You can select certain records, and View Selected.

At the bottom of a results list, you can email results. If you have selected only certain records, you can email those.

From a detailed record, you can export to EndNote.

You shouldn't expect to get the full articles in your results. In most cases, you will need to search for the articles in Primo Search to get the full-text.