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PHRM 813: Aspects of Patient Care

Guide for Alexandra Herman's Aspects of Patient Care class. Follow the order of the pages to complete the class the week of March 30th & feel free to utilize afterwards as well.

Going from a Question to a Response

When starting your research you want to think about all the elements of your question that will impact the types of resources you find. What are the most important elements? How can you make sure to include the patient's background in your search? How can you take the scenario in front of you and turn it into a question that you can search for?

Today we will be using the book Iwígara to assist us in researching specific plants that many cultures have a connection to in order to better understand how we can research topics from a place of cultural humility. Each group will have a specific plant assigned to them and we will be simulating that you are conducting a literature search to assist a patient who is asking about said plant. You will be using many resources and running more than one search to find the information you need. 

Things to Consider

Icon of conversation word bubbles, meant to convey

  • Different databases and resources are important when looking to see the whole picture. One tool won't cut it.
    • When researching a culture, illness, medicine, or more that has traditionally had stigma attached to it and issues of different underrepresented groups not having equal representation in the medical field (and beyond) searching is more complex.
  • Patient/public resources like Medline Plus can be a good way to find common language and information that breaks down an issue whereas PubMed and CINAHL are more specifically academic/scholarly resources.
  • Resources that would give me drug information, like Drug Information Portal, Lexicomp, Natural Medicines, etc. will have quick information about the drug but won't have the contextual information I need.

Create a Search Using Commands

1. Isolate keywords from your topic.

Image that lists the question "How does cultural competence impact the health care system in the United States? With cultural competence, health care, and United States highlighted to show how to pull them out in a search.

2. Narrow your search results to include all of your keywords using AND.

"United States" AND cultural competence AND health care

Venn diagram that has "United States" AND "Cultural Competence" AND "Health Care" to try and display how when using Boolean Operators the three intersect.

3. Expand your search using OR to find like terms.

"United States" AND "cultural competence" AND ("health care" OR healthcare)

Combining search terms with AND:

  • Narrows your search, reducing the number of results.
  • Makes the search focus more specifically on your topic.

Vin diagram that indicates how AND intersects (example written out in text in this box).

For Example

A search for "United States" yields 314,000 results results

A search for cultural competence yields 1,700 results

A search for cultural competence AND "United States" yields 429 results

Combining search terms with OR:

  • Expands your search and increases number of results.

Vin diagram that indicates how OR intersects (example written out in text in this box).

For Example

A search for "health care" yields 263,000 results

A search for healthcare yields 170,000 results

A search for "health care" OR healthcare yields 317,000 results

Combining search terms with NOT:

  • Narrows your search, decreasing your search results.
  • Tells the search to exclude certain terms.

Diagram that indicates how not works, when you use it for by saying NOT family you find caregiver without the word family (example written out in text in this box).

For Example

A search for caregiver yields 13,300 results

A search for caregiver NOT family yields 6,700 results

Use Quotation Marks to:

  • Narrow your search.
  • Combine search terms that are more than single worlds.

This shows the search engine that you want the terms to be found together. The search will look for exactly what you place in the quotation marks, so be sure there are no mistakes.

Vin diagram that indicates how quotation marks keep phrases together (example written out in text in this box).

For Example

A search for United States yields over 500,000 results

A search for "United States" yields about 300,000 results

Use Truncation to:

  • Expand your search.
  • Give your search tool flexibility to find alternate endings for your search term.

Diagram that indicates how truncation works (example written out in text in this box).

Search engines match your exact terms to results; they will not automatically find an alternate version of it. Truncation tells the search to match the root of your term and gives it freedom to find whatever endings it can.

For Example

A search for cultural yields 36,000 results

A search for cultur* yields over 95,000 results

These commands are called Boolean Operators.

Boolean

1. denoting a system of algebraic notation used to represent logical propositions, especially in computing and electronics.

What does that mean for you?

If you are having a hard time finding what you need, use the Boolean Operators outlined here to more efficiently search databases.

No matter where you are searching - the catalog, Google Scholar, a database you will want to use Boolearn Operators to refine your search to your specifications.

We are indebted to the Butler University Library's And/Or/Not box and to the Sarah Lawrence Create a Search Using Commands box for some of the content displayed here.

Student Success & Engagement Librarian