Plan your search
Write your search topic as a clear question and break it down into separate concepts. For example the question, What is the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy for smoking cessation?, contains two concepts: cognitive behavioural therapy and smoking cessation.
Think of other common terms, variant spellings, acronyms, brand names, etc. used to describe your concepts, e.g. in the question above CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy.
You may wish to break down your question using a framework such as PICO (Patient/Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome). See the attached guide on Planning your Search.
Consider what limits you wish to apply to your search, e.g. publication date, evidence level or geographic location, and how this will affect your results. Example search strategy
As part of the planning process, it is advisable to consider where you are going to search for information. Think about what you need the information for and how in-depth your search needs to be. Are you looking for a comprehensive search or a few articles?
You may wish to start with the following resources:
Save your search
You may wish to save your search strategies on the databases you use in case you wish to add additional terms, re-run the search at a later date or to create an alert.
How are you going to process the information you find? Are you going to use reference management software, e.g. Refworks, to manage your references? To create a Refworks account, select Refworks on the Knowledge Network homepage and follow the instructions.
It is important to consider the relevance, validity and quality of information you find. For information on critical appraisal, please see What is critical appraisal
More support for literature searching is available to NHSGGC staff and partners. Please contact the Library Network to request literature search training or to request a search.