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Researching for your literature review: Run a search in different databases

Translate a search across different databases

When conducting a literature review, it is important to run the same search strategy in all scholarly databases as far as possible. The search syntax and search operators will need to be adapted however to fit each database that you use. The elements that commonly need to be modified are:

Subject headings
Subject headings may differ across databases even when the databases are on the same platform. Always look for equivalent subject headings and see whether they need to be exploded in the specific database that you are using. See example below showing the different subject headings for the term "heart attack":

subject heading variations for term heart attack

Search operators

The asterisk symbol for truncation is universal across most scholarly databases. Wildcards and proximity operators however will differ across platforms, as will the need for double quotes for phrase searching.

Use the tips sheet below to see the correct operator when translating your searches.

Database search tips - reference guide