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SOCW 553: Research Knowledge and Evidence in Clinical Social Work Practice

Overview of evidence-based practice, literature review/systematic review workflows, and citation management for your written EBP assignment.

How to Run Your Searches

The following are the required steps when it comes to running your searchDesignate one member of your group to do the following steps.

  1. Create an account or log in to the platform
    • EBSCO, ProQuest, Ovid - all allow for personal accounts beyond your CWL login for the database
  2. Run each database search separately
    • Do not combine databases - reviews require them to be searched individually
  3. Save your search to your account
    • This will help in case you need to re-run it later
    • Name it using the database name so you remember which search belongs to which database
  4. Export ALL results as an RIS file
    • Do not cherry pick relevant articles, that will be done during the next step (screening)
    • If a RIS file is not available, talk to Arielle - she can work with you to find an alternative
  5. Note all of your searches in your search log
    • Including terms, combinations with AND/OR, limiters, database name, date searched, number of results
    • Reminder - you can use the Search Strategy Builder for this, a Word Doc, or another template of your choosing
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 until all database searches are complete

Creating an Account

You only need to make one account for all of the EBSCO platform databases - not one per database. This account is separate from your CWL login to get into the database - and will act as a personal account where you can save your searches. 

To create an account on EBSCO:

  • Log on to any EBSCO database - e.g. PsycInfo, CINAHL, Medline on EBSCO
  • Use the Sign In button in the top right-hand corner
  • Below the Sign In button, click Create One Now to create a new account
  • Fill out the details for your account

Once you have your account, you can log in before you conduct your search in each database to ensure you're able to save the search that you run. 

*Due to a change in our permissions system, you may experience issues creating a personal account. If you're having troubles, contact Arielle.

You only need to make one account for all of the ProQuest platform databases - not one per database. This account is separate from your CWL login to get into the database - and will act as a personal account where you can save your searches. 

To create an account on ProQuest:

  • Log on to any ProQuest database - e.g. Social Services Abstracts
  • Select the person-shaped icon in the top right-hand corner
  • Select Create My Research Account from the drop-down
  • Fill out the details for your account and select Create Account

Once you have your account, you can log in before you conduct your search in each database to ensure you're able to save the search that you run. 

*Due to a change in our permissions system, you may experience issues creating a personal account. If you're having troubles, contact Arielle.

You only need to make one account for all of the Ovid platform databases - not one per database. This account is separate from your CWL login to get into the database - and will act as a personal account where you can save your searches. 

To create an account on Ovid:

  • Log on to any Ovid database - e.g. Embase, Medline on Ovid
  • Use the My Account button in the top right-hand corner
  • Select Create Account on the right-hand side
  • Fill out the details for your account and click Create Account 

Once you have your account, you can log in before you conduct your search in each database to ensure you're able to save the search that you run. 

*Due to a change in our permissions system, you may experience issues creating a personal account. If you're having troubles, contact Arielle.

Running Your Searches

There are a few different ways to craft your search in each database and on different platforms. We will be reviewing this more in detail during the live session and any subsequent group meetings that you might have with me. 

Things to Remember when Running a Search:

  • How complex is your search? 
    • Depending on if you're using Thesaurus subject headings, how many search terms you've identified to use, if you're using title and/or abstract searching only, or if you've properly constructed a command line search, you may need to run multiple searches and combine them in the Search History.
    • There are many times when combination searches prove more useful. Sometimes it is also just nice to see how adding each of your concept areas builds to and affects your search - so that you can see if a specific part of your search might be causing the most issues or a set of terms may be too specific for what you're looking at. 
  • Have you correctly laid out your Boolean operators (AND's / OR's), as well as brackets to denote areas of your search?
    • If you have not yet done this, or are not sure how to do this correctly for your search, please don't hesitate to ask me. There are ways you can use the multi-box search to aid in this, or you can pre-create your command line search to more easily copy and paste into the database. 
  • Do you have all of your limiters laid out for each database? 
    • It's always good to be prepared for this as databases do have different limiters, and you don't want any surprises when you're in the weeds of running all of your searches for the final time. Remember to plan this at the beginning of your review. 

The following tabs will show you a few specific differences on each platform. 

Adding Thesaurus Subject Headings to Your Search on EBSCO:

  • Select the Thesaurus button along the top-left of the page
    • NOTE: Not all databases on EBSCO have a thesaurus, and some use other names for theirs - e.g. APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Term.
  • Type in the term you are looking for in the search box above the list of term - select Term Begins With or Term Contains before you click Browse. (This terminology may vary between Thesauri)
  • Select the box next to the applicable term 
    • NOTE: Terms with boxes next to them are approved terms. You may need to try your search a couple of ways to confirm if there are no other phrases or terms being used for what you're looking for. 
      • For example, Smoking is not a subject heading - but Tobacco Smoking is used to refer to smoking only tobacco products, and Smoking Cessation is used to denote articles discussing the stopping of smoking.
    • NOTE: If you select the Explode function, this will search for the term you are selecting, and any other related terms that are more specific than it in its thesaurus tree. You do not have to use this function, but it can be helpful if you are looking for many related terms and you don't want to manually add them all.
  • Click Add right above the list of results
  • Your term will show up in your search box, and you can click Search

Combining Searches with Search History on EBSCO

  • Run each of your applicable searches individually
  • Click Search History just below the search boxes to open a view of all of your previous searches
  • Select the boxes next to the searches you wish to combine
  • Click Search with AND or Search with OR depending on how you are looking to combine
    • Most often at this phase, you will be combining with AND because you have already done your OR searches using the search boxes. But there are times, such as adding Thesaurus terms, when OR will be used. 
  • By leaving the Search History function open throughout your searching, you can follow along with your search

Adding Thesaurus Subject Headings to Your Search on ProQuest:

  • Select the Thesaurus button right above the search boxes - a pop-up will open to display the Thesaurus
    • NOTE: Not all databases on ProQuest have a thesaurus, and some use other names for theirs.
  • Type in the term you are looking for in the search box above the list of term - select Begins With or Contains Word(s) before you click Find. (This terminology may vary between Thesauri)
  • Select the box next to the applicable term 
    • NOTE: Terms with boxes next to them to select are approved terms. You may need to try your search a couple of ways to confirm if there are no other phrases or terms being used for what you're looking for. 
      • For example, Disaster is not a subject heading - but Disaster PreparednessDisaster Relief, and Disasters are all options. 
    • NOTE: If you select the Explode function, this will search for the term you are selecting, and any other related terms that are more specific than it in its thesaurus tree. You do not have to use this function, but it can be helpful if you are looking for many related terms and you don't want to manually add them all.
  • After you've selected your box, you can keep searching for more terms (if related), and the thesaurus will track your terms add in the bottom left corner. 
  • Once you are done selecting all of your terms, select your preferred Combine Using method and click Add to Search
  • The selected terms will appear in your search boxes, and you can click Search 

Combining Searches with Search History on ProQuest

  • Run each of your applicable searches individually
  • Click Recent Searches just above the search results
  • Type in the search # for the searches you wish to combine - e.g. 1 AND 4
  • Click Search

Adding Thesaurus Subject Headings to Your Search on Ovid:

There are a couple different ways to add thesaurus terms to your search in Ovid. This is the way I find to be easiest.

  • Select the Search Tools button above the search box
  • Ensure the drop-down to the left of the search box is set to Map Term
  • Enter one word from your search you are looking to find a subject heading for - e.g. smoking
  • Click Search
  • Any related subject headings to your term will appear in a list. You can select all of those, using the box to the left of each, that you wish to add to your search. It is also good practice to also add your word as a Keyword (the last option in the list). 
    • NOTE: If you select the Explode function, this will search for the term you are selecting, and any other related terms that are more specific than it in its thesaurus tree. You do not have to use this function, but it can be helpful if you are looking for many related terms and you don't want to manually add them all.
  • Once you are done selecting all of your terms, select your preferred Combine With method and click Continue
    • You may be prompted with another page on subheadings, just include them all. 
  • Your selected terms will be automatically searched and will show in your Search History. 

Combining Searches with Search History on Ovid

  • Run each of your applicable searches individually
  • Your Search History will stay showing at the top of your page
  • Select using the box to the left of each search, those that you wish to combine
  • Select to combine with AND or OR at the bottom of the Search History
    • NOTE: remember to do all of your OR searches before doing your AND's - since this will ensure the database searches for your terms in the correct configuration

Saving Your Searches

You will need to save your search for each database individually. 

To save your search on EBSCO: 

  • Log on to the database you want to run your search in. 
  • Log in to your personal account on EBSCO (see instructions above)
  • Run your search(es)
  • Open the Search History button below the search boxes at the top - this will show you every search you've run. 
  • Select the search you want to save using the box to the left of the search - that may be the last search if you've done a combination search
  • Select Save Searches / Alerts just above the open search history
  • Fill out the information about your search:
    • Include the Database you are searching in the name - to find it more easily later (if needed)
  • Click Save

If you need to return to the search that you saved in the future, you can log into your personal account, click the Folder button in the top right-hand corner, select Saved Searches from the left-hand menu list, and select Retrieved Saved Search for the search you want to re-run. Remember, when you re-run a search, you may see that the number of results has increased or decreased slightly - that is because content is added/removed daily in the databases. 

You will need to save your search for each database individually. 

To save your search on ProQuest: 

  • Log on to the database you want to run your search in. 
  • Log in to your personal account on ProQuest (see instructions above)
  • Run your search(es)
  • Select the Recent Searches button on the top right of the results list - this will show you every search you've run. 
  • Select the search you want to save using the box to the left of the search - that may be the last search if you've done a combination search
  • Select Save just above the open search history
  • Name your search 
    • Include the Database you are searching in the name - to find it more easily later (if needed)
  • Click Save

If you need to return to the search that you saved in the future, you can log into your personal account, click the person-shaped button in the top right-hand corner, select Saved Searches from the drop-down list, select the search you want to re-run using the box to the left of the search, and click Search. Remember, when you re-run a search, you may see that the number of results has increased or decreased slightly - that is because content is added/removed daily in the databases. 

You will need to save your search for each database individually. 

To save your search on Ovid: 

  • Log on to the database you want to run your search in. 
  • Log in to your personal account on Ovid (see instructions above)
  • Run your search(es)
  • Your search history will display at the top of your results list automatically. 
  • Select the search you want to save using the box to the left of the search - that may be the last search if you've done a combination search
  • Select Save just below the open search history
  • Fill out the information about your search:
    • Include the Database you are searching in the name - to find it more easily later (if needed)
  • Click Save

If you need to return to the search that you saved in the future, you can log into your personal account, click the My Workspace button along the top blue bar, select My Searches & Alerts from the top-middle of the page, select using the box to the left the search you want to re-run, and click Run. Remember, when you re-run a search, you may see that the number of results has increased or decreased slightly - that is because content is added/removed daily in the databases. 

Exporting Your Results

Once you have your list of results - you are going to export all of them (no cherry-picking) into Covidence. In order to do this, you have to export the results into an RIS format file. 

To export results on EBSCO (email export):

NOTE: this sometimes does not function quickly, and the manual export below may be faster. 

  • Ensure you are on the results list you want to export
  • At the top-right of the results list, click the Share button
  • Select E-mail a link to download exported results from the drop-down menu
  • Enter your contact information
  • Select RIS Format from the right-hand list
  • Click Send
  • Retrieve the RIS file from your email - it will send as a compressed file, that you need to open before saving the individual RIS file. 

To export results on EBSCO (manual export): 

  • Ensure you are on the results list you want to export
  • At the top-right of the results list, click the Share button
  • Select Add to Folder, Results 1-50
    • If your account is set to 1-10, you can change it to 50 results per page under Page Options 
  • Scroll to the bottom, go to the next page and then select Results 51-100 under Share
    • Repeat this until all of your results have been added to your Selected Items folder (export in batches of 300-400 results at a time to prevent lost results)
  • Click on the Folder button on the top-right of the menu bar
  • Select the box next to Select / Deselect All in the grey bar in the middle of the page
  • Select Export on the right-hand menu list
  • Select Direct Export in RIS Format on the right-hand menu list
  • (If performing batched exports) Select the box next to Remove These Items from Folder After Saving 
  • Click Save

Save your RIS format file somewhere on your computer using the name of the database and the date you retrieved those results so that you remember when you exported them and from where. We will discuss importing into Covidence on the following page.  

Once you have your list of results - you are going to export all of them (no cherry-picking) into Covidence. In order to do this, you have to export the results into an RIS format file. 

To export results on ProQuest:

  • Ensure you are on the results list you want to export
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and change the preset for how many results per page to 100 results - the page should refresh
  • At the top of the results list, select the box to the left of Select 1-100
  • Scroll to the bottom, go to the next page and then select the box to the left of Select 101-200
    • Repeat this until all of your results have been added to your Selected Items folder
  • At the top right of the results list, click the button with three dots (ellipsis)
  • Click the RIS button
  • Ensure RIS is selected as Output
  • Click Continue

Save your RIS format file somewhere on your computer using the name of the database and the date you retrieved those results so that you remember when you exported them and from where. We will discuss importing into Covidence on the following page.  

Once you have your list of results - you are going to export all of them (no cherry-picking) into Covidence. In order to do this, you have to export the results into an RIS format file. 

To export results on Ovid:

  • Ensure you are on the results list you want to export
  • At the top of the results list, just below the search history, select the little box next to All
  • Click Export on the top right-hand side of the results list
  • Select RIS from the drop down menu under Format
  • Select Comprehensive Reference from the drop down menu under Fields
  • Ensure URL is selected
  • Click Export

Save your RIS format file somewhere on your computer using the name of the database and the date you retrieved those results so that you remember when you exported them and from where. We will discuss importing into Covidence on the following page.