Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

This is the beta site for USF Health Libraries. To access the current site please click here.

Shimberg Health Sciences Library & Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange

How to Improve Your Searches

Start with the Objective in Mind

Do you need to find quick answers to a clinical question for a specific case? Or are you beginning a systematic review? This will determine what type of search will suit your purposes best.

Define your research question clearly

You will run into difficulties if your question is too narrow (no results) or too broad (too many results). A clear and concise question will help you find that balance that is just right.

Think about what types of results you need

Are you hoping to find a guideline or meta-analysis of the literature on a question? Or do you want double-blinded randomized controlled trials? Knowing what you hope to see will help you use the best search terms and filters, and it will also help you recognize it when you see it.

Search Strategy Development Process

Basic Search (Video)

22:17 minutes