4. How do I search for the evidence?

4.1. A database search strategy

5.1 A database search strategy

A search strategy ensures that a database search will be systematic and comprehensive.

One of the best ways to learn the fundamentals of database searching is to look at an example of a search strategy and see if you can follow the rationale and logic. Once you can do this, it becomes easier to translate the basic principles to your own searches.

Have a look at the search strategy in the table below and work through it line by line to follow the logic. Some of the terms may be unfamiliar: Boolean operators, subject heading, free text. These will be explained in more detail in the next few pages of the course.

This example is based on a search on CAB Abstracts and can be revised for other databases, which may use different subject headings. You can build a similar search using the ‘Advanced’ search in PubMed or VetMed Resource.

Table 6: In [cats with naturally occurring chronic kidney disease] does [a renal prescription diet compared to normal diet] increase the [survival time] of affected cats?