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OCTH 5903 - Research in Occupational Therapy: Video Tutorials and OT Databases

Lecture Series: Using PubMed to Find High Quality Literature

This excellent series produced by the Welch Medical Library at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine delivers comprehensive information about performing high-quality database searches. Although the series highlights the PubMed database, the information provided is applicable to most professional databases. Total series time: approximately 55 minutes.


Need Occupational Therapy Articles? 

Check the databases below. Email your librarian at for help and tips.

Using Key Words in Searching

One of the first steps in creating a research plan is to select "key words" which best describe the topic you plan to research. When choosing key words for a search, it's a great idea to include related terms and terms that are more general (broader) and more specific (narrower) to improve chances for success. As a simple example:

Key word: cat

  • related terms: house cat, kitten
  • broader terms: pet, feline
  • narrower term: Felis catus

Sources for relevant key words include:

  • class materials, including textbooks, handouts, presentations, and lectures
  • subject headings and key word lists in library records
  • abstract and text of articles
  • online and database thesauri

If you are unfamiliar with the terminology you encounter while searching article databases (or while reading articles in journals) you may wish to refer to sources such as textbooks, dictionaries, and other reference resources in the field of study.

Contact your instructor if you are unsure if a particular topic is appropriate. It is usually wise to make sure you are on target with your topic before you begin to spend much time researching a project.