Published on March 10, 2014
Limiting Search Results
Limiting to words in citation Limit searches to words in the citation, rather than to full- text. The citation includes the following key search fields: Article title, journal title Subject headings (added by indexers to find articles where your topic is the main subject) Abstract (article summary or overview - usually a short paragraph). Limiting your search to words in the citation gives you the best chance of finding relevant articles.
Limiting to words in citation Proquest databases (e.g. British Nursing Index) The default option is Anywhere but this includes full-text. Change the search field to Anywhere except full-text Cinahl Use the default option Select a search field This will just search the citation but not the full-text. Medline Use the default option Topic – Add MESH This will search the citation and also map your search words to index terms.
Limiting to words in citation Problems limiting to words in abstract Not all articles have abstracts so you could eliminate potentially useful articles from your results. Titles and subject headings fields would not be searched. Problems limiting to words in title (of article) Titles are often misleading and do not always give a useful description of what the article is really about. Occasionally it is useful to limit to words in title but only if you are overwhelmed with results and need a way to reduce them.
Problems limiting to full-text Some publishers put embargos on full-text for very recent articles. This means that full-text is not available for a certain period, usually the latest year. If you limit your results to full-text only you will miss these and other articles, some of which may be very relevant. For systematic searching for a literature review, it is not recommended that you limit to articles that happen to have full-text. It is easy to use the A-Z of E-Journals tool on the homepage to check if full-text is available in another UCS e-resource.
Limiting to primary research Most journal articles contain abstracts which provide a short overview of the article. Abstracts describe the research methodology, how the data was collected and how the study was conducted. An easy way to limit to primary research, therefore, is to search for the word study The next step is to combine this search (using AND) with your combined previous results.
Other limit options Most databases also allow you to limit by the following: Date – usually to the last five or ten years Publication type – usually to a scholarly journal (rather than a professional journal) Publications – limit to specific publications of interest Peer-reviewed article – vetted by experts in the field Language Gender or age group
Limiting to UK articles There is no one consistent way of limiting to articles published in the UK. It may even be useful to include international material if it can be applied to the UK or if practices or healthcare systems are similar. Cinahl is the only database with options to limit to UK articles but search results can be unreliable. You should only use one of the following options if strictly necessary: Cinahl geographic locations subject heading Cinahl geographic subset limiter
Limiting by geographic location Many (but not all) articles in CINAHL have subject headings which describe their location. Go to CINAHL Headings and type Geographic Locations in the search box and click Browse. Click on the Geographic Locations link to display the country hierarchy, then drill down to Europe and the UK. Tick the box to the left of United Kingdom (this displays the term in the box to the top right of the screen). Click the Search Database button above it to display the results.
Limiting by geographic subset Cinahl also offers the Geographic Subset option which allows a search to be narrowed down by country with an option to limit to the UK and Ireland. Enter a topic search in the usual way. Click on the Advanced Search option. From the start page, scroll down the search options to Geographic Subset (to the right of the screen) Scroll down and select UK & Ireland
Inclusion & exclusion criteria Does the article come from a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal? Is it a primary research article? If it is an international paper, can the findings be applied to the UK? To what extent does nursing provision differ? Is it a pilot paper? Has it been superseded by the full study? Check if it is OK to use. You will need to acknowledge that the findings are limited. Is it a systematic review? You may be allowed to include one of these in your final selection. Make sure the systematic review does not already answer you research question.
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