Once all free-text terms and controlled vocabulary terms have been identified, you can start the proper searching process. It is recommended to search for each identified search term individually, then use the correct Boolean operators to combine the terms. This will help prevent any human errors. It also allows you to see which search terms add value to the search and if a particular search term produces too many irrelevant results.
An OR search will find information which includes either search term. All free text and controlled vocabulary terms identified for a concept are to be combined with an OR. This is to broaden the search and to capture all articles on a topic regardless of which term is used in the article.
An AND search will find results with information common to both search terms. Once all relevant information for each concept has been found, the concepts are joined with AND. This is to narrow the search and to only capture articles in which all concepts appear.
A NOT search will exclude words from your search results. This is to narrow your search, telling the database to ignore concepts that may be implied by your search terms. If you are interested in e.g. only finding animal studies you may be tempted to type NOT animals. This means that articles that include the word animals are excluded, including studies on animals as well as humans, which potentially are relevant. As a NOT search has the potential to exclude relevant articles, it is not normally recommended for a systematic review.
NOTE! All databases support these Boolean operators. The syntax for the NOT operator may vary slightly. Search
44 7 and 22 and 31 and 43
Either type as above, or select searches 7, 22, 31 and 43 and click Combine with AND.
#49 #7 AND #24 AND #34 AND #48
Either type as above, or use the Add Query / Add with OR link in the History to bring the individual searches back up into the Query Box. This will give you search #49:
(((((((((Dementia [tw]) OR Alzheimer [tw]) OR Huntington* [tw]) OR Kluver [tw]) OR Lewy [tw]) OR Dementia [mh])) AND ((((((((((((((((Animal-assisted therapy [tw]) OR Animal-assisted activit* [tw]) OR Animal-assisted intervention* [tw]) OR Animal therapy [tw]) OR Pet therapy [tw]) OR Dog therapy [tw]) OR Dog-assisted therapy [tw]) OR Canine-assisted therapy [tw]) OR Aquarium [tw]) OR Animal Assisted Therapy [mh:noExp]) OR Pets [mh]) OR Dogs [mh]) OR Cats [mh]) OR Birds [mh:noexp]) OR Bonding, Human-Pet [mh]) OR Animals, Domestic [mh:noExp])) AND (((((((((Music therapy [tw]) OR Music* [tw]) OR Singing [tw]) OR Sing [tw]) OR Auditory stimulat* [tw]) OR Music [mh]) OR Music Therapy [mh]) OR Acoustic Stimulation [mh]) OR Singing [mh])) AND ((((((((((((Aggression [tw]) OR Neuropsychiatric [tw]) OR Apathy inventory [tw]) OR Cornell scale [tw]) OR Cohen Mansfield [tw]) OR BEHAVE-AD [tw]) OR CERAD-BRSD [tw]) OR Behavior* [tw]) OR Behaviour* [tw]) OR Aggression [mh]) OR Personality inventory [mh]) OR Psychomotor agitation [mh])