National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

HSRR (Health Services and Sciences Research Resources)

Last Updated:  August  6, 2013

HSRR Searching Tips

How does the search work?

What do the links under "Record Type" and "Topic Subset" mean?

Can I search a phrase?

Are Boolean searching and wildcards allowed?

Is the search case-sensitive?

Will the search check my spelling?

What about entering special characters, like ñ or ö?

What do I do if I get a message saying no results found for the search?

What if this FAQ doesn't answer my question?

How does the search work?

To search, type a word or phrase into the search box. Click Go, or press the Enter button on your keyboard.

The results for your search are displayed in order of relevance. Every time you search, "All Results" are displayed by default. The results are also categorized into collections, such as “Record Type” and “Topic Subset”. For more information about the different collections, see What do the links under "Record Type" and “Topic Subset” mean?

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What do the links under "Record Type" and "Topic Subset" Mean?

The links under "Record Type" on the left side of the screen are collections. The collections divide the results of your search into these three categories. Click on a collection link to only see results from that category.

Datasets - A file or group of files associated with one part of a study. Files associated with a dataset might include a data file, a machine-readable codebook, SPSS control cards, and other files related to the data file.

Instruments - A research instrument contains the operational definitions of all measures related to the research and is primarily used to collect data. When a research instrument contains only questions and statements to be answered by respondents it is called a questionnaire.

Software - Program(s) used to develop databases, analyze and/or manipulate data from datasets.

The link under "Topic Subset" will permit you to narrow your search results to only to datasets, instruments, and software relevant to PHSR (or Public Health Systems Research).

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Can I search a phrase?

To search for phrases, type the phrase in quotation marks. For example, type "health services research" in quotes in the search box.

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Are Boolean searching and wildcards allowed?

These Boolean operators are available to you: OR, NOT, -, +

The asterisk "*" can be used as a wildcard character.

Note: Using AND is not necessary. All words are searched by default.

OR Use 'OR' when you only need at least one of the search words to appear in the results. Example: "HIV OR AIDS"
NOT or - Use "NOT" or "-" when you do not want a particular term to appear in the results. Examples: "heart defects NOT attack" or "heart defects -attack"
* Use "*" as a wildcard to search on all words that contain the letters you enter. You must enter a minimum of three letters plus the "*" character. Example: "mammo*" would find "mammogram" or "mammography" or "mammoplasty"
+ Use "+" when you require the exact word to appear in all of the results. For multiple words, you must use put a + sign in front of each word that must be exact. Example: search on "+lipitor cholesterol" if you only want to retrieve results with the brand name "Lipitor" and the word "cholesterol", and no results with the generic synonym "Atorvastatin"

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Is the search case-sensitive?

No, the search engine is not case-sensitive. For example, a search on "CAHPS" will also return pages containing "cahps". A search on "AIDS" will also return pages containing "aids".

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Will the search check my spelling?

Yes, the search engine checks your search words against all of the words collected from the web site. When a word appears to be misspelled, the search engine looks at all the words it "knows" and offers you a word that could replace it.

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What about searching for special characters like ñ or ö?

You can use special characters in your search but they're not required. When you use diacritics in your search, the search engine retrieves pages that contain those diacritics. The search engine also retrieves pages that contain the term without special characters. For example, if you search on the word niño, your results include pages that contain the word niño or nino.

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What do I do if I get a message saying no results found for the search?

There are a few reasons why you could have received this message:

Your word may be misspelled and the search engine can't find a substitute for it. For example, if you had typed in "dyabeets" when you meant "diabetes", the search engine won't be able to recognize it.

The kind of information you are looking for may not be available from the HSRR database.

If you are looking for journal articles, try searching PubMed/MEDLINE at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/. PubMed/MEDLINE is NLM's bibliographic database of journal article citations and abstracts.

If you are looking for consumer health information, try searching MedlinePlus at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. If you are looking for Health Services Research Projects, go to HSRProj at https://wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov/hsr_project/home_proj.cfm

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What if this FAQ doesn't answer my question?

If this Help does not answer your question, Contact Us and we will do our best to answer your questions.