Use boolean operators (AND, OR) to broaden your search.
Use subject headings (e.g., PubMed MeSH terms) to search by subject, or to brainstorm synonyms to add to your search.
Use truncation (*) to search alternate endings.
Use quotes to search as a phrase.
The type of question is important and can help lead you to the best study design. To limit your search to a specific study design, use the database's filters/limits or add keywords to your search (e.g., lung cancer AND cohort).
|Type of Question||Best Type of Study|
|Therapy||RCT -> cohort -> case control -> case series|
|Diagnosis||prospective, blind comparison to a gold standard
|Etiology/Harm||RCT -> cohort -> case control -> case series|
|Prognosis||Cohort study -> case control -> case series|
|Prevention||RCT -> cohort study -> case control -> case series|