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HIP202 Research Skills Guide: Searching as an Ongoing Process

Try Different Searches

You might not get the best results from your first search. You might need to try many different searches, using the techniques shown on the previous page, and changing your search terms, your combinations, and the fields searched.

The search process is an ongoing process of either narrowing or broadening your search, depending on your topic, your results, and how well they match up.

Narrowing techniques:

  • searching in only one database
  • adding in extra search terms, and combining them with the AND operator
  • searching in specific fields
  • using limiters
  • combining search sets.

Broadening techniques:

  • searching in more than one database
  • adding in extra search terms, and combining them with the OR operator
  • using truncation.

Many databases, including CINAHL, will save your searches and you can go back to them later.

if you wish to save results and searches permanently, you will need to create a personal account/folder in the database that you are using. For more information, see the page in this guide on CINAHL - Using Folders.