Keywords are the cornerstone of most database searches. A keyword search looks for matching words in titles, descriptions, abstracts, and other descriptive information. Sometimes the author provides keywords; the database will also assign subject headings (a controlled list of terms) to aid in searching.
Some ideas to get you brainstorming keywords:
Place several words within quotes to search those exact words in that exact order.
Truncation and Wildcards
Use a symbol (usually * or ?) to search all words that start with entered letters.
AND searches for both terms, OR searches for either term, NOT omits a term.
Different types of sources contain different kinds of information. Considering the source type when searching for information and refining results will help you gain the best kinds of materials for your project based on the projected audience, purpose, and other needs.
In most databases, you'll encounter the following source types, often known by these names:
Maintaining a record of your search is is a good way to ensure the completeness of your research. A systematic strategy of recording searches helps you to assess the changes to your searches as your research progresses, and it helps others replicate your searches for their own systematic reviews of the subject.
Many databases, including SuperSearch, provide features to help you document your searches when logged in. It is worthwhile to create an account in databases to save your searches and set up search alerts.
Saved searches retain the information from searches you've already done. Some databases allow you to export the information from saved searches easily. However, not all databases retain static records of the searches. That is, the results from a search you do today will not be available in a year; the database will perform the same search again, with the most recent available results.
Search alerts notify you when new content is available within your search parameters. This feature can be useful to keep you informed about your research topic while saving you the time of redoing searches every few weeks or months.
In your documentation of the various searches, you'll need to register the following:
In hand-searching (looking through journal contents by hand), take note of the source and the year.