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Research Guides

SWK 4510: Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice

For SWK 4510 students, and other social work students, using database search strategies to locate relevant research evidence for papers and assignments.

Locating quantitative (experimental) studies

Methodology Oriented Locaters for Evidence Searching (MOLES) are a collection of words that function as search filters in your database searching. Use MOLES to help filter your search results to experimental or quasi-experimental evidence. 

Important note: MOLES search string formats vary from one database to another. We have pasted the MOLES words for the key databases below.

MOLES for ProQuest interface

Copy and paste the string below into ProQuest searches:

(RCT OR (trial* NEAR/3 (control* OR clinical)) OR (random* NEAR/3 (allocat* OR assign*)) OR ((treat* OR comparison OR intervention OR control) NEAR/2 group*) OR (control* NEAR/2 (condition* OR clinic* OR intervention* OR treat*)) OR (waitlist* OR wait* PRE/0 list*) OR (quasiexperiment* OR quasi PRE/1 experiment*) OR placebo)

MOLES for EBSCO interface

Copy and paste the string below into EBSCO searches:

(RCT OR (trial* N3 (control* OR clinical)) OR (random* N3 (allocat* OR assign*)) OR ((treat* OR comparison OR intervention OR control) N2 group*) OR (control* N2 (condition* OR clinic* OR intervention* OR treat*)) OR (waitlist* OR (wait* W0 list*)) OR (quasiexperiment* OR (quasi W0 experiment*)) OR placebo)

MOLES for MEDLINE (in OVID)

Copy and paste the string below into MEDLINE searches:

RCT or randomi* or control* trial* or control* clinical or clinical trial* or random* assign* or random* allocat* or control* group* or comparison group* or treat* group* or wait* list* or control* condition* or quasi-experiment* or quasiexperiment* or (control* adj3 intervention) or (control* adj3 treat*) or placebo

Experimental studies in PubMed

PubMed does not require MOLES as it has its own search filter called PubMed Clinical Queries:

Reference

These MOLES adapted from: Gibbs, L. (2003). Evidence-based practice for the helping professions, Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning. They have been adapted by professors Esme Fuller-Thomson and Ted McNeill at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.