Search tips

Quick Tips

  • The keyword search is NOT case-sensitive
  • You can enter any word into the keyword search including author names, trial IDs, generic drug names etc
  • Use inverted commas "" for phrases (example 1 below)
  • Use Boolean operators OR/AND to broaden or narrow search (example 2 below)
  • Use brackets/parenthesis to ensure search carried out in logical sequence (example 3 below)
  • Find studies added to ALOIS in a particular month search: "alois june 2009" (example 4 below)
  • Find study records that have been modified/updated in a particular month, search: "updated in alois june 2009" (example 4 below)
  • At present there is no wildcard function
  • In the advanced search, to retrieve more than one Study Aim category or Study Design catagory in any one search: Hold Ctrl while selecting from the study aim and study design lists
  • Use drug names rather than commercial/trade names (e.g. donepezil rather than aricept) (see question 4 below for more)


Keyword Search - Examples

  • Example 1: Enter word(s) or phrases you want to use to find studies

e.g. memantine

This will retrieve all records that have the word memantine in them

e.g. "mild cognitive impairment"

This will retrieve all records with the phrase mild cognitive impairment (remember to use " ")


  • Example 2: Use Boolean operators (OR/AND) to broaden or narrow your search                          

e.g. memantine AND donepezil

This will narrow your search to retrieve only those study records that have both the word memantine and the donepezil in them

e.g. memantine OR donepezil

This will broaden your search to retrieve all study records that have either the word memantine or the word donepezil in them


  • Example 3: Use brackets/parenthesis to group and prioritise search expressions and ensure search is processed in correct sequence

e.g. (prevent OR delay) AND (dementia OR alzheimer)


  • Example 4: To find studies of interest to you that have been added to ALOIS within a particular timeframe

e.g. rivastigmine AND "alois july 2009"

This will return all study records that have the word rivastigmine on them that were added to ALOIS in July 2009

e.g. rivastigmine AND ("alois june 2009" OR "alois july 2009")

This will return all study records that were added to ALOIS in either June 2009 or July 2009 that have the word rivastigmine on them

e.g. rivastigmine AND "updated in alois july 2009"

This will return all study records that were updated, amended or modified in July 2009 that have the word rivastigmine on them


Advanced Searching

  • Users can perform an advanced search for Intervention studies and for Diagnostic Test Accuracy studies
  • The advanced search invites users to select from drop-down menus. A minimum of one field must be completed for a search to work
  • Simply select the appropriate Study Aim and Study Design and complete any or all of the other three fields (study name; Intervention; Health status) and click search
  • More than one study aim can be selected at once for a search. Simply hold down the Ctrl button while selecting all study aims required
  • More than one study design can be selected at once for a search. Simply hold down the Ctrl button while selecting all the study designs required


FAQs about Searching ALOIS 

1. Can I use a wildcard to search ALOIS, for example: alzheimer*

At present ALOIS cannot be searched using wildcards. A way round this is to type in all the possible derivates you think may have been used separated by the Boolean operator OR. For example to retrieve all records that mention Alzheimer Disease you should enter the following into the keyword search box: Alzheimer OR alzheimers OR ad. 

2. Is the keyword search case sensitive?

No the free text search is not case sensitive so a search on Alzhiemer and a search on alzheimer would retrieve the same number of results/hits.

3. Why would I use a keyword search instead of an advanced search?

In ALOIS the free text search searches the whole parent record of a study including the references section. The Advanced search is a field search and searches certain fields for the search terms entered. The free text search is the search to use for very sensitive and inclusive searches. In others words if you use the free text search effectively you are likely to retrieve all the results you want from your search as well as quite a few that you don’t want. With the so-called advanced search you can limit your search very easily but you could miss some relevant studies but searching this way alone.

4. Is there a controlled vocabulary?

When a study or trial report is coded for ALOIS, there are certain terms that are used to describe the study or trial. Knowing these terms will help you to search more effectively.

  • For study aim (intervention studies) one of the following terms are used: Cognitive enhancement (healthy); Primary prevention; Treatment MCI; Treatment dementia; Caregiver focused.
  • For study design (intervention studies): RCT; CCT; Open-label; Other
  • For study design (diagnostic test accuracy studies): Cross-sectional; Longitudinal; RCT; Other
  • Alzheimer Disease is used instead of Alzheimer's Disease (using AD should be fine
  • The drug name is used rather than commercial/trade names, e.g. use donepezil instead of aricept

5. Is there a quick way to retrieve studies added to ALOIS within a certain timeframe?

Yes, there are two ways of doing this. You can search the following way using the keyword search: "alois may 2009" which will retrieve all the studies which were imported to ALOIS in May 2009. If you want to find all the studies added to ALOIS for all of 2009 enter: "alois AND ("may 2009" OR "april 2009" OR "march 2009" etc.). Alternatively you could look under the Recently added studies section. This shows you all the studies added to ALOIS in the last twelve months with the most recently added first. Please note, that studies only began to be imported to ALOIS in May 2009.


Still have a question about searching?

If you have a question about searching ALOIS or are finding it difficult to search the register then please do Contact us. Put "ALOIS search query" in the subject of your email.


Page last updated: 17 August 2010