When beginning your search it is helpful to consider the following questions before looking at the resources. This can help save you time and limit unnecessary results.
Other things to consider when searching the scientific literature:
Deciding where to search depends on the type of information you are looking for and the question being asked. It is also important to consider who the information is for. Some general guidelines:
Searches for multiple word endings
Example: ethic* = ethic, ethics, ethical, ethically
AND / OR / NOT
Can be used to narrow or broaden a search
Example: genetic AND engineering (narrow)
Quotation Marks "..."
Search for the exact phrase
Example: "animal welfare"
Criteria set to limit or narrow your search results
Example: language, publication date, article type
These guides provide an introduction to searching PubMed and Web of Science. They include tips for building a search strategy that may be useful in other databases.