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EFHP 860: Critical Perspectives in Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion

Scoping Reviews

How to Search (an overview)

Search strategies will differ depending on the research question. However, here are a few tips on building search strategies.

NOTE: For scoping reviews and other kinds of knowledge synthesis, work with your librarian to develop a search strategy, identify databases, and determine the best method to document searches, manage and screen citations. 

  • Examine your research question and identify key concepts.
  • Think about alternate terms that may be used for each concept.
  • Consider terms that you may know from prior reading and other previous experiences.

Example: Why are female soccer players experiencing a concussion more often than their male counterparts?

Concept 1: concussions

Concept 2: soccer players

Example Search: (concussion OR TBI OR synonym  OR synonym ) AND (soccer OR football OR synonym OR synonym)

Boolean Terms

  • OR tells the search to look for instances with either of the phrases entered. 
  • AND tells the search to look for instances with both phrases entered.
  • NOT: tells the search to exclude certain text from the search.

Truncation: A common feature in citation databases that allows searchers to include word variants. For example, a search of diabet*, with * representing the truncation symbol, will search for diabetes, diabetic, diabetics, etc. (source: the University of Michigan. Advanced Literature Searching in the Health Sciences)

NOTE: The use of these techniques changes from one research database to the next and can also vary depending on the research question. A librarian should be consulted to build a search strategy and get additional instruction on resources.

See section 11.2.5 titled "Search Strategy" of the JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis -