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Developing Research Skills for Evidence and Enquiry for Practice (HWLS): Recording Your Search Strategy

What will I learn in this section?

For this assignment you need to take a screenshot of the search strategy you have used in the database you have selected. This is the only thing you need to submit to show how you have found your articles.

How to do a screenshot:

There are two ways you can do this and this may depend on what type of device you are using:

  • Find the 'snipping tool' in Windows and screenshot by dragging it across the part of the page you are needing;
  • Use CTRL-Print Scrn, then crop the image once you have pasted it into a word document;

Your screenshot should go in the appendices which come after your reference list in your assignment.

You do not need to keep a table record for this assignment, however it is good practice to get into. The information below shows you how to keep records of your search, should you want to do this for your own purposes.

Keeping a Record of Your Search Strategy - Use a table

It's really important, once you start your search process, to keep a record of what you are doing. Otherwise, you may find you cannot remember where you found your articles from, or how you found them. You may need to evidence how you found your articles as part of your assignment, so having a record is going to be a big benefit. Plus, it is good practice when you are researching to keep a note of where and how you found it!

There are a few ways you can do this. You can use an excel spreadsheet to record your key words and Boolean, limits and number of results. Or you can use a table in a word document. 

Here is an example of how you might format a record table.

Database Keywords/Phrases Alternative Keywords/Database Headings Limits or filters (eg Date, Language, Peer Review) Number of results Notes/Reflections
Medline anxiety AND fast heartbeat 3 try other key terms
(anxiety OR worry OR panic) AND (fast heartbeat OR tachycardia) [tachycardia - database heading]




Saving Searches in a Database

You can also save your searches in a database itself, which is a good idea if you want to revisit them. You'd do this if you were working on a search strategy over a period of time. This short video shows you how to do this (remember, again, you only need to screenshot your search strategy for this assignment!).

Where Can I Get Help?

There is lots more help in the 'introduction to literature searching' folder in your module site. There is a section called 'introduction to literature searching' which has a comprehensive set of resources to help you with starting your search for your papers. You should have completed this by this time. If you haven't, it's important that you revisit this information.

You can get help with quick questions using Library chat, or you can get in touch with the Library through the student portal or Hallam Help points. Here are some useful help links: