Search Tips

Search tips to help you locate information on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Web site.

The AHRQ Web site uses a dedicated Google search engine to locate items of interest on the site. The search text box is located in the AHRQ banner on the right side of every page. Begin any search by entering your desired search term(s) into the Search AHRQ box and either press Enter or select the Go button.

You may wish to go directly to the Advanced search page where you can specify options for search term frequency, language, output format, and sorting.

Basic Search Tips:

  • Keep your search simple, using just a few distinct search words.
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases. Example: "patient safety organization"
  • Leave out common words, such as the, of, to, for, as well as single digits or letters. If you need to use a common word, put a plus sign (+) in front of it or use it in a phrase, enclosing the entire phrase in quotation marks. Examples: type +2 diabetes; "trip ii"
  • Exclude specific terms by using a minus sign (-) in front of the term. Example: meps data -analysis
  • If desired, sort your results by date—just select the Sort By Date link at the right side of the results page.
  • Don't worry about capitalization—the search function is not case-sensitive.
  • Expand your search results by using similar terms with the OR operator (OR must be capitalized here). Example: cost OR expenditure OR payment

For a complete list of search tips, including a list of Advanced Search Operators, go to

Page last reviewed November 2012
Internet Citation: Search Tips. November 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.