I was asked to produce a top ten search tips for a librarian (Beryl) in the Wirral (my birthplace) and was happy to help out. She suggested I share the list, so here goes:

  1. TRIP is a free resource aimed at delivering the highest quality literature to support clinical practice. As such we focus on quality of content not quantity.
  2. When searching using more than one search term tends to get the best results. A search on ‘asthma’ will yield a large number of results while a search on, say, ‘asthma and steroids’ brings back a more focussed set of results.
  3. On the results page you can filter the results based on the type of material you’re after e.g. guidelines, systematic reviews etc.
  4. TRIP also carries out an automatic search of PubMed using the clinical queries interface. TRIP allows these results to be ‘specialised’ to only return results from core journals from numerous specialities e.g. cardiology, oncology, immunology.
  5. The advanced search allows greater flexibility in searching. For instance, you can look for keywords that only appear in the title of a document. You can also combine multiple searches.
  6. My-TRIP allows you to record keywords of interest. Then, when TRIP updates the content (monthly), any new material is e-mailed to the user. Registering with My-TRIP also allows users to comment on documents included in TRIP.
  7. TRIP supports various different ways of enhancing searches. These include the ability to use brackets, phrase searching (by placing phrase in quotation marks), stemming (e.g. ‘cancer*’ searches for any term beginning with ‘cancer’ e.g. cancer, cancerous).
  8. Where documents have conclusions TRIP has attempted to capture them. Where there are conclusions simply click on the blue ‘i’ button. When there is no conclusion this button is ‘grayed out’.
  9. The latest version of TRIP includes snippets (small auto-generated segments of the article on interest) these can significantly improve recall of appropriate documents. These can be turned off if they are too intrusive.
  10. TRIP also searches two other collections of date medical images and patient information. These can be accessed via the links above the search box.

If anyone can think of any other then let me know! For additional search tips you can visit our more comprehensive list by clicking here.