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This guide features resources for students enrolled in the Paramedic program at Centennial College.

Search Tips

Keyword Searching Tips

Before entering keywords in the search box, it is useful to write down several words that best describe your research topic. Use a thesaurus if necessary to generate more words.

Descriptive words can then be connected by using words such as AND and OR to form meaningful search statements.

Connecting Words/Boolean Logic

AND Narrows a search by joining keywords so to find articles and other documents that contain both of the keywords (e.g. paramedics AND community health).

OR Broadens a search. Will find articles that contain at least one of these keywords (e.g. emergency medical technicians OR paramedics).

NOT Narrows a search by excluding a term. NOT connector will find articles that contain the first keyword but not the second keyword (e.g. Canadian NOT Amercian).

Strategic Searching

1)  Use simple keywords when searching the Library databases:

"domestic violence"


"emergency medical services"   

see " Example: Developing Keywords and Constructing a Search"  below for more information.

2)  Use the subject terms suggested by the databases you are searching for a more accurate and comprehensive search.

3) Click on the "Search for Article" link in any database to see if the article is available full text in another database or in hard copy in the Library.

Quotation Marks, Parentheses and Truncation

"Quotation marks"

Quotation marks are used to search keywords that are a complete phrase (e.g. "prehospital care").


Keywords within parentheses will be searched as a single unit within the search statement e.g. ("emergency medical technicians" OR paramedics) AND "community health"


When a keyword is truncated, the ending of the word is removed and replaced with a truncation symbol, usually an asterisk (*). A truncated keyword search will find articles with all instances of the root word and the root word combined with any possible ending (for example, paramed*  - this will find paramedic or paramedics or paramedicine or paramedical)

Example: Developing Keywords and Constructing a Search

Step 1. Describe your Topic

Is there a role for paramedics in community based palliative care?

Step 2: Identify keywords for your topic.

Main Concept 1

Concept 2         

Concept 3       


palliative care

community care

Step 3: Find synonyms 

Main Concept 1

Concept 2         

Concept 3       


palliative care

community care

emergency medical technicians

end of life care

community paramedicine

emergency medical care


 community health

Step 4: Build a search 

Main Concept 1

Concept 2         

Concept 3       

(paramed* OR "emergency medical technicians" OR "emergency medical care") AND ("palliative care" OR "end of life care") AND ("community care" OR "community paramedicine" OR "community health")

Open License Statement

Paramedic by Centennial College Libraries is licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 license unless otherwise stated.

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