Most databases allow you to search specific fields. You can find options to search specific fields in search drop-down menus (set to Title, Abstract, or Journal Title for example) or you can use commands. For example, to search the Title and Abstract fields with a command in PubMed, enter cytology[tiab] in the main search box. All items that have cytology in the Title and/or Abstract field will be retrieved.
Searching specific fields and using commands may help you get to the article you want faster. In PubMed, using fields and commands may help you to balance your search. A comprehensive search involves considering how you should search for an individual concept.
|[ti]||Publication Title||stem cell[ti] AND therapies[ti] AND systemic sclerosis[ti]|
|[tiab]||Title and Abstract||systemic sclerosis[tiab] AND stem cells[tiab]|
|[ot]||Other Term (Keywords)||stem cell transplantation[ot] AND systemic sclerosis[ot]|
|[mh]||MeSH Term (Subject Heading)||scleroderma, systemic[mh]|
Google is a great resource for grey literature when used thoughtfully with operators.
|""||"best practice" tracheostomy||
Phrase searching. Searches for words in the order entered.
|+||wheelchair +skills||Includes specific word(s) in results.|
|-||"primary health care" -"primary care"||Excludes specific word(s) in results.|
|*||wheelchair * test||
Fills in missing word(s).
|...||cataract surgery $400...$1000||
Searches specific number range (years, prices, weights, etc.).
Locates items about cataract surgery prices between $400 and $1000.
Locates multiple words in body of search results.
|intext:||intext:social determinants of health||Locates single word or phrase in body of search results.|
Locates words in the title of search results.
|intitle:||intitle:social determinants of health||
Locates single word or phrase in title of search results.
Locates a definition for a word or phrase.
|filetype:||dementia guidelines filetype:pdf||
Searches by file types such as pdf, doc, ppt, etc.
Restricts search to a particular website, domain (nshealth.ca), top level domain (.edu, .org, .com, .gov, .net, etc.), country (.ca, .uk, etc.).
|AROUND||Plavix AROUND 3 aspirin||Retrieves results that use the second word aspirin within so many words of the first word (in this example, results that use aspirin within three or fewer words of Plavix).|
Choice of Operator