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* Public Health

Resources for students interested in public health related programs at the University of Rochester

Strategies for researching a country on public health issues

1. Brainstorming search terms 

One of the most important, and often overlooked, aspects of researching a topic, is figuring out what search terms to use. Think about each unique concept and the terms scholars might use to talk about each.  Each line below represents a unique concept for terms I'd use if research how Afghanistan is handling the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly for marginalized groups like refugees. 

AND  COVID-19 OR sars-cov-2 OR “covid* response*” 
AND  refugees OR “displaced persons” 

Note: quotations marks around multiple words like "covid response" makes the database return results only when the whole phrase is used.  The asterisk (*)  tells the database to look for that root word with any ending.  Afghan* will find Afghan, Afghans, Afghani, and Afghanistan, Afghanistanis, etc.  For Google and Google Scholar searching, asterisks are not needed since multiple endings are automatically included in the search.  In Google or Google Scholar, the search would appear as afghanistan (COVID-19 OR sars-cov-2 OR “covid response”) (refugees OR “displaced persons”)

2.  Search for Scholarly Literature using the suggested resources  on the Research Resources Tab.  PubMed, LitCovid, and Google Scholar are best bets.

3. Search for News articles on your issue.  Find international and domestic news sources (like this example article) on the News Research Guide at

4. Search for Grey Literature using these search tips.
Examples include:
covid-19 afghanistan  
        (covid-19 OR coronavirus OR sars-cov-2) afghanistan 
        covid-19 afghanistan

        covid-19 (refugees OR "displaced persons")

This list of country code domains can help you greatly if your topic is relevant for countries outside of the United States.

5. Search for a country's background info and statistics using the Data Sets & Stats tab of this guide. Some useful sources for how Afghanistan and public health issues might include:

Anatomy of a Literature Review Article

Image Source: Pixabay

Anatomy of an Empirical Research Article

Image Source: Pixabay