Health Sciences

Articles
Reference
Video tutorials
Websites
Systematic reviews
Search tips

Start here

Primary subject databases
Database Description
CINAHL with Full Text Index for nursing & allied health literature including full text for some content. View Full Description

Main databases

Secondary subject databases
Database Description
Cochrane Library Collection of seven databases with information on the effects of intervention and prevention in health care. View Full Description
EBSCOhost databases (all) Search all EBSCOhost databases at once. View Full Description
MEDLINE (via ProQuest) Key index for biomedical and related literature. View Full Description
ProQuest databases (all) Search all ProQuest databases at once. View Full Description
PubMed Free biomedical literature search tool, composed primarily of Medline but including additional information. View Full Description
Web of Science Core Collection Citation indexes for the arts & humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. View Full Description

Also useful

Tertiary subject databases
Database Description
Biological Science Database Citations and abstracts to research in biomedicine, biotechnology, zoology and ecology. View Full Description
Campbell Library Systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis to promote positive social and economic change. View Full Description
DART Citations for journal articles and conference proceedings on teratology and other aspects of developmental toxicology. View Full Description
Disease Surveillance On-Line Statistics and data for a range of years from Health Canada. View Full Description
Google Scholar Searches for articles and web resources from academic publishers and universities. View Full Description
LILACS Scientific and technical health literature of Latin America and the Caribbean. View Full Description
Popline International index to journal articles, monographs, and technical reports for reproductive health. View Full Description
PsycINFO A comprehensive database for the field of psychology and psychological aspects of related disciplines. View Full Description
Scholars Portal Books Electronic books from various publishers and coverage various subjects. View Full Description
Scholars Portal Journals Several thousand full-text electronic journals; especially strong in sciences and social sciences. View Full Description
ScienceDirect Journals and books published by Elsevier, primarily in the sciences. View Full Description
SPORTDiscus International database with citations for materials in sports medicine, exercise physiology, physical education and related fields. View Full Description
TOXLINE (via ProQuest) Citations for journal articles, monographs, technical reports and other materials in all areas of toxicology. View Full Description
TOXNET Multidatabase search tool for information on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. View Full Description

The Health System

Maps

  • Healthmap, a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital founded in 2006, is an established global leader in utilizing online informal sources for disease outbreak monitoring and real-time surveillance of emerging public health threats. The freely available Web site 'healthmap.org' and mobile app 'Outbreaks Near Me' deliver real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse audience including libraries, local health departments, governments, and international travelers.
  • Global Cancer Project Map, released on March 25, 2015, is a web-based platform that catalogs international cancer research, cancer care, and cancer outreach programs. The platform aligns cancer care efforts of governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and industry partners.

Statistics

  • National Library of Medicine HealthStatistics, The Health Statistics and Numerical Data subject guide includes some of the major sources of health and general statistics in the United States and a brief list of international resources.
  • Cancer Statistics, The American Cancer Society has launched a new web tool to make it easier for reporters, the public, and those involved in the cancer fight to find and share cancer statistics.
  • Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides essential information on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians. Our stakeholders use our broad range of health databases, measurements and standards, together with our evidence-based reports and analyses, in their day-to-day decision-making. We protect the privacy of Canadians by ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our health care information.

Systematic Reviews - Definition

  • A systematic review brings together all empirical evidence that fits specific eligibility criteria to answer a very direct research question. Key characteristics of a systematic review are: a clear and concise question, specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, a rigorous and systematic search of the literature, critical appraisal of included studies, mechanisms to manage the citations and data, analysis and interpretation of the results and a final report for publication.
  • Bandolier Definition
  • Difference between Literature Reviews and Systematic Reviews
  • Navigating Video
  • Cochrane Video

Guides and Manuals

  • Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews (IOM)

    IOM's (2011) standards address the entire systematic review process, from locating, screening, and selecting studies for the review, to synthesizing the findings and assessing the overall quality of the body of evidence, to producing the final review report. Includes a link to the IOM Standards for Systematic Reviews.

  • Cochrane Collaboration Handbook

    The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is the official document that describes in detail the process of preparing and maintaining Cochrane systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions. This is Version 5.1.0 of the Handbook; last edited March 20, 2011.

  • Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA Statement)

    The aim of the PRISMA Statement is to help authors improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The focus of PRISMA is randomized trials, but it can also be used as a basis for reporting systematic reviews of other types of research, particularly evaluations of interventions.

  • Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews (AHRQ)

    This guide was developed to improve the transparency, consistency, and scientific rigor of those working on Comparative Effectiveness Reviews.

  • Campbell Collaboration

    Guidelines for producing a Campbell Systematic Review. The Campbell Collaboration is an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions.

  • Systematic Reviews: CRD’s Guidance for Undertaking Reviews in Health Care

    Provides practical guidance for undertaking evidence synthesis based on a thorough understanding of systematic review methodology. Presents core principles of systematic reviews and highlights issues that are specific to reviews of clinical tests, public health interventions, adverse effects, and economic evaluations. The final chapter discusses incorporation of qualitative research in or alongside effectiveness reviews.

  • Qualitative Research Guide

    Online resources to aid in conducting, finding, using, synthesizing, and teaching qualitative research in health sciences.

  • 3IE Impact

    International Initiative for Impact Evaluation offers a database of systematic reviews on impact evaluations and has methods information for conducting your own.

  • Health Research Policy and Systems - Confidence in Systematic Reviews. This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers.
  • Health Research Policy and Systems - Preparing and using Policy. This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers.
  • Support Summaries Review - Evidence of the effects of health system interventions for low- and middle-income countries

Searching

  • Bandolier, an independent journal about evidence-based healthcare, written by Oxford scientists, (RAM AND HJM) was printed in February 1994. It has appeared monthly ever since and has become the premier source of evidence based healthcare information in the UK and worldwide for both healthcare professionals and consumers.
  • The Campbell Library is the peer-reviewed online monograph series of systematic reviews prepared under the editorial control of the Campbell Collaboration. Campbell systematic reviews follow structured guidelines and standards for summarizing the international research evidence on the effects of interventions in crime and justice, education, international development, and social welfare.
  • Cochrane Library is regularly updated collection of evidence-based medicine databases, including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: evidence based systematic reviews prepared by the Cochrane Collaboration. These reviews provide high quality information to people providing and receiving care and to those responsible for research, teaching, funding and administration at all levels
  • NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 350 substance abuse and mental health interventions. NREPP was developed to help the public learn more about evidence-based interventions that are available for implementation.
  • University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination National Institute of Health Research Database.

    Systematic reviews are widely recognised as reliable sources of information about the effects of health and social care interventions. But as with individual research studies, they can be hard to find, may have flaws and can be difficult to interpret. Between 1994 and March 2015, CRD produced and maintained DARE, a database uniquely providing access to over 13,000 abstracts of quality assessed and critically appraised systematic reviews.

  • Rx for Change searchable database containing current research evidence about intervention strategies used to alter behaviours of health technology prescribing, practice, and use. Developed by CADTH.
  • Health System Evidence The world's most comprehensive, free access point for evidence to support policy makers, stakeholders and researchers interested in how to strengthen or reform health systems or in how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them.

What does it take to do a Systematic Review?

  • Time - Average time for a review is 18 months. Cochrane Reviews take approximately 2 years.
  • Team - Cochrane Reviews require teams to complete a review. Most reviews include subject specialists as reviewers to screen abstracts, statisticians to help with data analysis, librarians to develop comprehensive search strategies and a project leader to coordinate.
  • Defined Question - Clear and concise research question is the key to a good systematic review. Use PICO framework to identify key concepts and determine inclusion and exclusion criteria.
    • P=patient, population or problem
    • I=intervention, prognostic factor or exposure
    • C=comparison or intervention
    • O=outcome you would like to measure or achieve
  • Written protocol - To outline the study methodology.
  • Registered protocol - Register your protocol with PROSPERO. Registration is free and open to anyone undertaking a systematic review. You are required to register a protocol with Cochrane.
  • Comprehensive Literature Search - Identify key databases, develop a search strategy, conduct a comprehensive and detailed search and keep documented evidence of citations.
  • Citation Management - Best to work with a citation management system.
  • Follow reporting guidelines - Use appropriate guidelines for review of your publication.

Appraisal and Analysis

  • IOM Standard: 3.6 Critically appraise each study

    3.6.1 Systematically assess the risk of bias, using predefined criteria3.6.2 Assess the relevance of the study’s populations, interventions, and outcome measures3.6.3 Assess the fidelity of the implementation of interventions

  • Cochrane Manual

    See Chapter 8: Assessing risk of bias in included studies

  • JAMAevidence - Users' Guides

    Chapters on evaluating studies.

  • Jadad Scale

    The Jadad scale, sometimes known as Jadad scoring or the Oxford quality scoring system, is a procedure to independently assess the methodological quality of a clinical trial. Jadad et al. published a three-point questionnaire that formed the basis for a Jadad score. Jadad, A.R.; Moore R.A., Carroll D., Jenkinson C., Reynolds D.J.M., Gavaghan D.J., McQuay H.J. (1996). "Assessing the quality of reports of randomized clinical trials: Is blinding necessary?". Controlled Clinical Trials 1996 17 (1): 1–12. PMID 8721797

  • GRADE Working Group

    The working group has developed a common, sensible and transparent approach to grading quality of evidence and strength of recommendations.

  • Assessing the Risk of Bias of Individual Studies in Systematic Reviews of Health Care Interventions

    (from AHRQ - "Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews")

  • Avoiding Bias in Selecting Studies (AHRQ)

    This is a chapter from "Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews."

  • The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for assessing the quality of nonrandomised studies in meta-analyses

    Nonrandomised studies, including case-control and cohort studies, can be challenging to implement and conduct. Assessment of the quality of such studies is essential for a proper understanding of nonrandomised studies. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) is an ongoing collaboration between the Universities of Newcastle, Australia and Ottawa, Canada. It was developed to assess the quality of nonrandomised studies with its design, content and ease of use directed to the task of incorporating the quality assessments in the interpretation of meta-analytic results.

  • Additional tools for assessing the quality of a study
  • AMSTAR checklist

Data Management

  • Abstrackr

    From Brown University. Open and free to all. It’s set up to automatically pull in abstracts from NLM using PMIDs. One can also transfer abstracts over from Reference Manager or EndNote. Allows for collaborative screening of abstracts.

  • Covidence

    Covidence is a not-for-profit service dedicated to improving the use of evidence in healthcare decision-making. The service partners are The Alfred Hospital, Monash University, National ICT Australia and the University of London.

  • EPPI-Reviewer 4

    EPPI-Reviewer 4 is software for all types of literature review, including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, 'narrative' reviews and meta-ethnographies.

  • The PRISMA Flow Diagram depicts the flow of information through the different phases of a systematic review. It maps out the number of records identified, included and excluded, and the reasons for exclusions. Or you can use this generator.

Reporting

  • Reporting Guidelines

    The EQUATOR Network gathers guidelines for reporting on different types of trials and research studies. Includes CONSORT, STROBE, PRISMA, MOOSE, RAMESES, and more.

  • Standards for the Reporting of new Cochrane Intervention Reviews

    The Methodological Expectations of Cochrane Intervention Reviews (MECIR) project aims to specify methodological expectations for Cochrane Protocols, Reviews, and updates of reviews on the effects of interventions, and to ensure that these methodological expectations are supported and implemented across The Cochrane Collaboration.

  • Review Manager (RevMan) is the software used for preparing and maintaining Cochrane Reviews. You can use RevMan for protocols and full reviews. It is most useful when you have formulated the question for the review, and allows you to prepare the text, build the tables showing the characteristics of studies and the comparisons in the review, and add study data. It can perform meta-analyses and present the results graphically.

Types of Reviews

Librarians can help you with systematic reviews.

Contact your Liaison Librarian.

Searching Google

Default Search Settings or How Google Interprets your Query:

Implicit AND

Google returns pages that match all your search terms with the term Search terms are automatically combined using AND

Exact Matching

Google returns pages that match your search terms exactly

Word Variations

Google returns pages that match variants of your search terms. This means that it will automatically look for correct spelling of misspelled words

Common-Word Exclusion

Google ignores some common words called “stop words,” the, on, where, how

32-Word Limit

Search queries limited to 32 words

Not case sensitive

Capital letters of search terms are ignored

Search

Searches documents by keyword

Word order

Google gives more priority to pages that have search terms in the same order as the query

Ignoring Punctuation

Google ignores most punctuation and special characters including . ; ? [ ] ( ) @ / * < >

Truncation

Automatic – no additional symbols required to search for alternative word endings

Search results

Displays by relevance attributed to Google’s algorithm

Compound words

Searches both the compound word and the with a space between the words airline air line

Options to Refine your Search; Crafting Queries with Special Characters, Operators and Symbols:

“phrase searching”

Use quotations marks around phrases “birds eye”

OR and |

Interchangeable use of OR or |. Results include either search term. OR must be capital letters tourism OR travel

-

Exclude use –immediately before a search term you want to exclude wine -barrel

..

Specify the results contain numbers in a range 1800..2000

*

Use *, an asterisk character, known as a wildcard, to match one or more words in a phrase (enclosed in quotes) “Google * my life”

synonyms

Use ~(the tilde symbol) immediately before a search term to include synonyms ~tourism

intitle:

Finds results with your search term in the document title intitle:tourism

allintitle:

Finds results with your search terms in the document title allintitle:confidential

inurl:

Finds results with your search term in the URL inurl:healthy

allinurl:

Finds results with your search terms in the URL allinurl:google.faq

Info:

Finds results about the web page Info:library.wlu.ca

related:

Finds results with content related to a specific website

related: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

filetype:

Limits your search results to a specific file type. Examples of file types include; doc xls ppt mp4 filetype:pdf

site:

Limits your search to searching within a specific site site:www.library.wlu.ca

link:

Use to see what sites link to a specific website link:www.library.wlu.ca

define:

Find definitions sourced from a range of online resources define:tourist

cache:

See what a cached version of the site looked like. The last time that Google crawled the site

Cache: http://lwlu.ca

AROUND(n)

Proximity search based on the number n. AROUND has to be capitalized CBC AROUND(20) Harper

$

Find prices Nexus $

#

Find popular hashtags for trending topics #leftoverturkey

_

Connect two works. Your search results will find this pair of works linked together or connected with underscore dog_house

Movie:

Include movie: to find movie-related information Movie:blade runner

Phonebook:

Reverse lookup using Google Phonebook:555-555-1212