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HA 5301 Healthcare Administration Research Methods: FINDING PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES

Finding Articles

Finding Peer- Reviewed Articles for the assignment involves the following steps:

  1. Accessing the Databases
  2. Selecting a Database
  3. Developing a Search Strategy
  4. Filtering Search Results to Peer-Reviewed articles
  5. Saving and Citing 
  6. Recording your Search Strategy

Details for each step are provided below.

Accessing the Databases

  1. Starting from the library homepage, click Databases.
  2. On the Databases page click in the Subjects field and select Health Administration from the drop down menu, click Search. 

Screenshot of Database page Subject drop down menu with Health Administration selected.


Selecting a Database

  1. On the Health Administration Databases page, the databases considered the most useful to Health Administration are listed under Best Bets!  However, there may be other useful databases listed so be sure to go through the entire list.
  2. As you go through the list of databases, note the following about each database:
    1. Types of research (e.g., articles, systematic reviews, clinical trials, videos)
    2. Content (e.g., business, medical)
    3. Dates of coverage (e.g., 1949-Present) 
  3. To select the database, click the title of the database, on the following page click Access Database.
  4. If you are accessing the database off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your NetID and password.

*Google Scholar:

  1. Access Google Scholar on the Databases page so you will see the option FindIt@TxState with your search results. This options allows you to see if the full text of an article is available through the library. 

Screenshot of Databases page with Google Scholar link shown.

Developing a Search Strategy

Once you have selected a database(s) you will need to come up with a search strategy to search for articles in the database.  The following steps will help you create a search strategy.

  1. Identify keywords
  2. Add commands to the search string
  3. Find additional keywords

Identify Keywords

  1. Keywords are the main concepts from your topic/research question.
  2. Eliminate unimportant words (e.g. for, in, of, on)
  3. Tip:  don't use U.S. or America as keywords unless the results include a lot of articles on other countries. Doing so could exclude articles that don't specifically mention the terms U.S. or America.


Example Topics Keywords
Disparities in Black Maternal Mortality in America Disparity, Black, Maternal, Mortality, America
Effect of lifestyle factors on US Health lifestyle, factors, US, health

Add Search Commands to the Search String

Most databases recognize the following commands:

Search Command Result
Boolean Command AND Black AND Maternal AND Mortality brings back articles that mention all three concepts.
Boolean Command OR Black OR African American brings back articles that mention either concept.
Boolean Command NOT NOT abortion will exclude articles that mention the concept.
Phrase Searching "maternal mortality" returns articles containing the exact phrase in the order it is typed.
Truncation Medicat* returns articles containing words with the root medicat such as medicate, medicating, medication

Put it all together

The search string below will bring back articles that mention the following terms:

disparity or disparities AND Black AND maternal mortality

disparity or disparities AND African American AND maternal mortality

Advanced Search Sting in the database MEDLINE Complete with disparit* AND black or african american AND "maternal mortality"

Find Additional Keywords

It is unlikely that you will find all of the articles you need with your first search string.  You will have to try different search combinations using different keywords. 

There are a few places you can search for additional keywords:

  • Database Subject Headings/Thesaurus or MeSH
  • Subject Terms/MeSH in an article record

Look for links to the database thesaurus (or subject headings or MeSH) then search for your concepts in the search box to see if the database uses another term for the concept.  Add any relevant terms to your search string with the appropriate command.

Screenshot of MeSH link in the MEDLINE Complete database.

You can also find additional terms in the subject terms found in an article record. 

When you find an article that is relevant to your research, click on the title of the article and look for the subject terms listed in the article record. Add the relevant terms to your search string with the appropriate commands.

Screenshot of Mesh terms listed in an article record.

Filtering Search Results 

Once you have perfected your search string and returned viable looking results, you may need to filter the results list, especially if you have more than 20 results.  At the very least you will want to limit the results to Peer-Reviewed articles.

Many databases have filter/limiter tools that allow you to filter the results.  Look for these tools on the search interface.  

The example below shows the limiters for Peer-Reviewed and publication date in MEDLINE Complete:

Screenshot of the limiters under Refine Results in the database MEDLINE Complete.  The limiters for Peer-Reviewed and Publication Date are highlighted.

Save and Cite your Sources

Many databases have tools that allow you to save articles or export them to a Citation Manager, and most databases have a citation generator.  Be sure to...

  • use the Permalink tool to link to the article (don't use the url because it won't work)
  • use the Cite tool to get a citation for any article you use
  • export articles to a citation manager (if you use one)
  • check your citation to make sure it is correct

The tools below are from the database MEDLINE Complete, but most databases have tools so be sure to look for them!

Screenshot of Tools in MEDLINE Complete

Recording your Search Strategy

Suggestion:  Don't record the search strategy until you have perfected it and are returning stellar results in the database.

MEDLINE Complete via EBSCOhost  
Date of Search  8/30/23
Search String AB disparit* AND  TI black or african american AND MH "maternal mortality"
Number of Results 15