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Objectives: This study aimed to investigate search tools and strategies of PhD students to access required information.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with pharmacy Ph.D. students in Tabriz University of Medical Sciences were conducted. We used MaxQDA software to analyze the content of the interviews.

Results: Scopus and Google Scholar were the most popular search tools used by participants. These databases were also recognized as the most common starting points for searches among participants. Participants’ search strategies were categorized into two themes (search tools and search strategies) and six subthemes which include: search start up tools, search tools used, reasons to use, keyword selection and modification, type of search and field searching.

Conclusion: Google Scholar has become a serious alternative for specialized databases such as Web of Science, Pubmed and Scopus. The results of this study would be benefit for policy makers and information suppliers in academic settings.



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