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Population and Public Health

Database Commands

Database

Truncation

Wildcard:

0 or 1 character

Wildcard:

Exactly 1 character

Phrase

Proximity

OVID databases

 

*  or  $  or  :

Examples:
 

pharm$ will find:

pharmacy, pharmacist, pharmaceutical….

Child* will find:

children, childbirth, child-centred, childhood…

?

Examples:

flavo?r

P?ediatric

#

Example:
 

wom#n

Quotation marks only needed if there's a word like "and," "or" or "use" in your phrase:

Examples:

“Sensitivity and Specificity”

“Substance use disorder”

 adjn

(adj=adjacent and "n" is the number of words)

 

Example:

environment* adj3 health will find environment, environmental etc. within 3 words of health.

PubMed

*

Note: truncation stops automatic mapping to MeSH 

   

“your phrase”

Note: phrase searching stops automatic mapping to MeSH, and does not always find results

Proximity searching not available in PubMed 

EBSCO databases

 

*

 

#

Examples:

flavo#r

P#ediatric

?

Example:

wom?n

“your phrase”

Nn or Wn

(N= Near, W= Within and "n" is the number of words)

Example:
seat* n5 wheelchair will find seat or seating etc. within 5 words of wheelchair.

Web of Science

 

 

*

Web of Science allows left-sided truncation as well as right-sided.

Example: *statin will find:

atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin…

$ for exactly 0-1 characters

* for 0-multiple characters

 

?

“your phrase”

NEAR/x

You can specify x number of words; or if you just type NEAR, the default range is within 15 words.

 

Core Databases

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a useful resource for finding literature. It's great for finding grey literature such as government reports, dissertations, and research presented at conferences. Clicking the "Cited by" link for a particular article can be an excellent way to find related research on a topic. However, there are a few caveats about using Google Scholar:

  • There's little to no quality control on the content in Google Scholar, so you may find results from predatory journals
  • Searching works a bit differently - for instance, truncation (using the * at the end of a word) searching doesn't work, and sometimes using brackets in your search causes unusual results
  • There are no subject terms or other filters you can use to focus your search

When using Google Scholar from off-campus, use the link below to enable access to UBC eLink.​ Also, please see the Grey Literature guide below for additional tips on using Google Scholar, and more sources and techniques for finding grey literature:

Database Searching Tutorials