Identifying your search concepts is important to determine which key components you need to include in your search to return relevant results. Concepts are easier to identify once the research question has been formulated using PICO, PICO(T), or another question formulation framework from Step 1.
It is not necessary to include all the elements of PICO(T) in your search strategy. Note, outcomes are generally not included as search concepts, but instead are scanned for in the results.
Example: "Are mobile health technology interventions more effective in managing patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes than in-person care?"
|Concept A||Patient/Problem/Population||patients with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2|
|Concept B||Intervention||mobile health technology|
|Concept C||Comparison||in-person care|
|Not included||Outcome||effectiveness in managing diabetes|
Researchers use different terms to express the same concepts. To increase the sensitivity (e.g. comprehensiveness) of your search, it is important to gather synonyms and terms that authors might use to describe your concepts.
Types of synonyms to consider for your search strategy:
|diabetes||mobile health technology||in-person care|
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
mobile health apps
smartphone health apps
in-person site visits
in-person outpatient care