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Athletic Training & Kinesiology

Getting Started

  • Use multiple databases/search engines. There will be overlap in what you find, but each will have something unique. The following should be helpful for most if not all searching. Refer to the database page for the best Athletic Training databases. 
  • Effective, scholarly extrapolation is key. Keep in mind what you may have to pull pieces of information from various articles to make your point. You may not and probably won't find the perfect article that sums up your position. 
  • Choose key terms appropriately. Choose each versus all. It is a more efficient and faster search. You don't need to pull up an engineering or philosophy article, which are two of the many disciplines, which are also been searched.  
  • Take notes as you go. It's really hard to find or document things after the fact. So track where you search, the terms you use, and the citations you find as you go. Paper or online doesn't matter. Using a reference manager, like Zotero, can help you keep track of your citations. 
  • Also, if an article looks "remotely" useful, make note of it. It's always easier to cross it off later than try to find it again. You may not be able to find it again.

Boolean Operators


Combining Terms & Boolean Operators

  • Start with one concept at a time. That way you can mix and match search sets. Start with one and add the others one at a time. You may need to mix and match them in different combinations. Also, you might find that you can only use two concepts together out of three. When you have multiple concepts it's easy to end up with nothing. 
  • Combine terms with OR to get more results.  If there isn't much on your topic, combine terms (ex. subject and keyword terms) with OR to find the most articles. A search on walking aids might look like this: 
  • walkers OR canes OR crutches OR walking aid 
  • Combine terms with AND to get fewer results and to bring topics together. To combine the search on walking aids with the topic of hip fracture, you need to combine the two searches with an AND. It may look like this: 
    • #4: Search #1 AND #2 limits: English 
    • #3: Search #1 and #2 
    • #2: Search hip fracture 
    • #1: Search walkers OR canes OR crutches OR walking aid 
    • You can also type it out in one line like this: (walkers OR canes OR crutches OR walking aid) AND hip fractures 
  • Boolean started with... George Boolean! He was a mathematician who had the happy thought that you can combine sets with AND, OR, NOT.

Subject Terms and Keywords

  • Spell out terms. Some databases, like PubMed, may not recognize abbreviations. For better results when using abbreviations and acronyms it is best to type them out. 
  • Use available subject terms.  Most of the databases will provide subject headings for related searches. By clicking on these, you will get expanded search results. 

Don't Throw Out Older Articles

  • You can find good articles by looking at References and Cited By
  • Reference are the articles and documents listed in an article's bibliography or reference list. This will take you into the past, to older articles. 
  • It may be beneficial to look at Citing Articles or Cited By links in search engines like CINAHL. It is best to use literature from the past five years. Scholarly literature from the past five years is considered to be current literature. 
  • Define landmark articles and determine how they have been used in previous literature.