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Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant

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. poverty AND health).

OR Broadens a search. Will find articles that contain at least one of these keywords (e.g. poverty OR low income).

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).

Other Tips

"Quotation marks"

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


Keywords within parentheses will be searched as a single unit within the search statement e.g. (rehabilitation OR therapy) AND "spinal cord injury"


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, Canad*  - this will find Canada or Canadian or Canadians).

Example: Developing Keywords and Constructing a Search

Step 1. Describe your Topic
What is the role of Occupational Therapy Assistants/Physiotherapy Assistants in Canada?
Step 2: Identify keywords for your topic.
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       
OTA/PTA assistants role Canada
Step 3: Find synonyms 
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       
Occupational Therapy Assistants role Canad* 
Physiotherapy Assistants responsibilities Ontario
Rehabilitation Assistants practice  
Step 4: Build a search 
Main Concept 1 Concept 2          Concept 3       

(occupational therapy assistants OR physiotherapy assistants OR rehabilitation assistants) AND (role OR responsibilities OR practice) AND (canad* OR ontario)


Strategic Searching

Use simple keywords when searching the Library databases

"stroke patients"

AND  rehabilitation

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




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