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Searching Skills Toolkit: Finding the Evidence, 2nd Edition

Caroline De Brún, Nicola Pearce-Smith

ISBN: 978-1-118-46313-0 February 2014 BMJ Books 156 Pages


Searching Skills Toolkit is an expert guide to help you find the clinical evidence you need more easily and effectively.

Clearly presented with useful tips and advice, flow charts, diagrams and real-life clinical scenarios, it shows the best methods for finding quality evidence. From deciding where to start, to building a search strategy, refining results and critical appraisal, it is a step-by-step guide to the process of finding healthcare evidence, and is designed for use by all health and social care professionals.

This second edition has been expanded with new chapters on searching for sources to support evidence-based management decision making and how to better enable your patients to make informed choices. It has also been fully updated to include new web sources, open source reference management software, and new training resources and exercises.

Searching Skills Toolkit is an ideal reference for doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, managers and decision makers, researchers and students.

Chapter 1 Introduction, 1

Evidence-based medicine, 1

Why search?, 2

How do you keep up to date, 4

Further reading, 5

Chapter 2 Where to start, 6

The hierarchy of evidence, 6

The hierarchy of searching, 7

1. How much time do I have?, 8

2. What type of publication am I looking for?, 10

3. Is my query about a specifi c topic?, 13

Chapter 3 Clinical information: sources, 15

Medical libraries, 15

The Internet, 15

Chapter 4 Searching the Internet, 26

Search engines and directories, 26

Evaluating material found on the World Wide Web, 29

Saving useful websites, 35

Chapter 5 Formulating searchable questions, 37

Types of question, 37

Breaking down the clinical scenario, 38

Identifying keywords, 39

Further reading, 39

Chapter 6 Building a search strategy, 41

Identifying synonyms, 41

Synonym sources, 42

Truncation and wildcards, 42

Combining terms (using Boolean operators), 46

Construction of the final search strategy, 47

Chapter 7 Free text and thesaurus searching, 50

Free text searching, 50

Thesaurus searching, 51

Chapter 8 Searching healthcare databases, 55

Finding the evidence: key steps, 55

Medline, 57

PubMed, 57

Ovid Medline, 64


Cochrane Library, 73

Further reading, 80

Chapter 9 Refining search results, 81

Limits, 81

Methodological fi lters, 85

Clinical Queries, 86

Sensitivity versus specificity, 87

Systematic reviews, 89

Further reading, 90

Chapter 10 Saving citations, 93

Logbooks, 93

Reference management software, 94

Chapter 11 Citation pearl searching, 98

Related items, 98

Author search, 99

Keywords, 99

Journals, 100

Snowballing, 100

Alerts, 101

RSS feeds, 101

Chapter 12 Quality improvement and value: sources, 102

Examples of quality improvement and value questions, 102

Current awareness, 102

Searching for evidence on quality improvement and value, 103

Other useful sources of information, 105

Networks, 113

Further reading, 114

Chapter 13 Patient information: sources, 115

Shared decision-making, 115

Poor quality health information, 116

Good quality health information, 116

Appraising online consumer health information, 117

Trusted information sources, 118

Rarer conditions, 120

Third-party assistance, 121

Patient decision aids, 121

Writing patient information, 122

Keeping up to date with patient information, 122

Further reading, 123

Chapter 14 Critical appraisal, 124

Definition, 124

Critical appraisal checklists, 124

Further reading, 125

Chapter 15 Glossary of terms, 126

Appendix 1 Ten tips for effective searching, 135

Appendix 2 Teaching resources, 138

Record your favourite resources, 142

Index, 143

“This should work well as a required textbook in an evidence-based practice course.”  (Doody’s, 16 January 2015)