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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/n

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

Scopus

*

Scopus automatically searches for plurals and applies stemming

?

Scopus automatically includes spelling variants

?

Scopus automatically includes spelling variants

"your phrase"

loose phrase - searches for words in same field (title, abstract, or keyword), but not necessarily as an exact phrase.

{exact phrase}

Use curly brackets to look only for exact phrase. Note that hyphens count - eg, {COVID 19} and {COVID-19} will find different results. Can't use truncation or wildcards with exact phrase searching.

W/n (words in any order within n words of each other)

PRE/n (looks for words only in the order they are entered)

Proquest databases

*note: consider changing the drop-down next to the search box to "NOFT" instead of "anywhere" when searching these databases

*

*

for up to 5 characters in middle of word

? "your phrase"

NEAR/n (if you don't specify n, default is 4)

PRE/n (looks for words only in the order they are entered)

CAB Direct
*


or
Automatic Stemming

Use quotation marks "XXX" to turn off Auto-stemming

  ?

Use proximity:

reproductive near/1 "aging"

searching phrase in quotes may find undesired results, eg "reproductive aging" will also find "reproductive age"

near/n

("n" is the number of 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.‚Äč 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