Healthcare Databases Advanced Search quick guide

Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS): a quick guide (pdf)

Healthcare Databases Advanced Search step-by-step guide

A step-by-step guide to Healthcare Databases Advanced Search

Step 1 : Define your query

Use PICO to define your query:



Is intranasal fentanyl better than parenteral morphine for managing acute pain in children?

P Children
I Fentanyl
C Parental morphine
O Alleviating pain

Step 2 : Have your OpenAthens password ready

Forgotten your password? Go to OpenAthens or contact your campus library

Don’t have a password? Register at NICE

Step 3 : Log in and choose a database

Go to NICE Evidence Search 

Select Journals and databases, then Healthcare databases advanced search (HDAS)

Log in and choose a database to search e.g. Medline

Step 4 : Enter your search terms


Natural terms (Keywords) – title and abstract terms from a journal article

Subject headings (MeSH) – the designated formal word

Mapping will help e.g. heart attack is mapped to myocardial infarction

Step 5 : Combine search terms

Combine words to limit or expand your search:

Search example

Biomaterials for nasal reconstruction

  • use “and” to combine e.g. nasal and reconstruction
  • use “or” to expand e.g. nasal or facial
  • use * to truncate e.g. biomaterial* also searches biomaterials
  • combine search terms by using "Combine selected" option

Step 6 : Limit your search

Limit by:

  • year
  • age
  • male/female
  • publication type
  • clinical trial
  • case report, etc.

Step 7 : Manage results

See your results:

  • View on screen - select view results
  • Click on "Display Abstracts" to view Abstract for each article
  • Email – includes full-text articles
  • Save and import to reference management software
  • Print – full-text articles / abstracts