Medical imaging and radiation sciences: Searching

Guide to information resources and services for Medical imaging and radiation sciences

What are you looking for?

It is easier to search when your topic is clearly defined

First, brainstorm, mindmap or talk it over with someone. If it's a new area, you'll need to define terms and do some background reading to understand the subject.

Then, try to express your topic in a sentence or two. Writing helps to clarify; use full sentences, not dot points, as they are complete thoughts. 

If your topic isn't fixed (such as an essay question), it's likely to change or become more specific as you read and your ideas develop. 

Developing a search strategy

This is a keyword search strategy. The most comprehensive search is a combined keyword and subject heading search.

  1. Define your question
  2. Identify the main search concepts. For each concept, brainstorm for alternative spellings and synonyms
  3. Combine search terms with OR/AND
  4. Use quotes to search for phrases
  5. Retrieve word variations using symbols (Note: these may vary in different databases - see tips)
  6. Consider which limits you want to use

To learn more, book into a Library class or do the online tutorial.

Adjusting your search strategy

Consider your initial search strategy to be a first draft. Use it to search a database, check the results, then adjust the strategy as needed. You may produce a number of drafts before the search strategy is in its final form.

Your search strategy will need to be modified for each database. See the database search tips to faciliate this translation process.

If you retrieve too many results:

  • add another concept and combine with your previous result set using AND
  • use more specific keywords for your search terms or search terms as phrases rather than individual words
  • add limits
  • try proximity operators which dictate how close terms should be in the record - usage varies across databases, see database search tips

If you retrieve too few results:

  • use more general search terms
  • remove limits e.g. publication date limit
  • try a different database

Grey Literature searching

Click the image to view an online tutorial to help you undertake academic research on the Internet.

Using the Library Search catalogue

Use Search to discover books, articles, journals, databases and more!

A single search will return results from a number of different sources including:

  • those held locally in Monash University library
  • a vast collection of electronic resources

Click below to access the Search Library Guide for more information on using Search

Subject heading searching

Key health databases such as Medline (PubMed), CINAHL and PsycINFO use subject headings, a controlled vocabulary, to describe the content of the publications they index.

These resources explain subject headings:

Principles of MEDLINE Subject Indexing (U.S National Library of Medicine)

The Basics of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in MEDLINE®/PubMed® (U.S National Library of Medicine)

How to find review articles

Read a recent review article for an overview of the topic and to identify useful references.

To find a review article, limit your search to publication type 'review'.

(The publication type may vary across databases)

Most disciplines have quality review journals, such as the Clinics of North America series.