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Finding information for OTA students.

Another Approach

Another approach to finding articles is to leave the "big box" search behind. You may want to do this when:

  • The number of search results is simply overwhelming or full of irrelevant hits.
  • You need a specialized filters for health professions searching.
    • Limit to systematic reviews, clinical queries, evidence based articles, etc.
  • You are having trouble narrowing your results to occupational therapy or even health and medicine related items.


American Journal of Occupational Therapy is indexed and FULL TEXT in CINAHL.

  • Select a Field and choose SO Publication Name
  • Type in American Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Add other search terms

OT Practice is Indexed Only in CINAHL

  • Select a Field and choose SO Publication Name
  • Type in OT Practice
  • The library has issues on paper from 2005 forward.
  • OT Practice on the web (use your student AOTA member login)

Other Databases

Constructing Your Search

Tips for Searching:

  • Try lots of words for the same thing:  Learning disability, learning deficit, learning disorder. As you find things, pay attention to the vocabulary of the database you are using. Understand different databases may use different vocabulary.
  • Distill your concepts into keywords, keywords should represent your concept succinctly.
  • Add lines in your search query for each concept.
  • If your keywords are a phrase, try quotation marks,  “____"  e.g.   “learning disability”
  • Pay attention to mechanics of searching:  did you check full text?  do you need to adjust dates? etc.
  • Click on the Subject Terms in found articles to find more on that specific topic.

Assessing your Results:

  • Look beyond the first 10. 
  • Look at your sort. By default the articles are ranked by relevance.  Is that best for you?
  • When you see something good, READ IT—look at the subject terms and abstract.
  • OVERALL, stay flexible in your approach and try different strategies. 

Narrow your search!

If your initial search results in too many results:

  • Use additional search terms
  • Try synonyms for your original term(s)
  • Search for full-text articles only
  • Limit your search to more recent materials, the last five years, for example

Parkland College Library
2400 West Bradley Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821

Fax: 217/351-2581