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Literature searching for Medical and Dental Sciences

Further resources and acknowledgements

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham Library

Skills support for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham

From the Research Support Team, Library Services, University of Birmingham (requires UoB login)

NHS Knowledge Hub

Full access to all the resources on the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub requires an NHS Open Athens password.  This is usually available to NHS staff and to University medical students on accredited courses.

At the same time, basic searches can still be carried out on the Knowledge Hub platform, and the training resources may also be accessible without a password.  Tracking and saving your progress on these courses would require the NHS password, however.

The Hub also provides really useful self-directed training material on literature searching, in particular on how to identify a search topic and suitable resources and developing a search strategy.  Most of the material is applicable beyond the specific Knowledge Hub platform and will therefore be useful to students and others using resources such as databases and other sources via institutional gateways such as FindIt@Bham

The Literature searching module has 3 sections.  

  • Building the foundations:
    • Introduction to searching
    • Where do I start searching
    • How do I start to develop a search strategy
  • Developing the skills
    • Too many results? How to narrow your search
    • Too few results? How to broaden your search
    • Searching with subject headings
  • Applying the skills
    • Searching the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub and bibliographic databases


NHS Knowledge Hub Literature Searching modules


To the providers of bibliographic databases on subscription under licence to the University of Birmingham, for screenshots and any links to supplier resources.

  • Clarivate Analytics - for Web of Science (Core Collection) and EndNote Online
  • John Wiley & Sons - Cochrane Library
  • EBSCO - CINAHL, AMED, EconLit and other databases
  • Ex Libris - FindIt@Bham (powered by Primo search tool)
  • LWW Wolters Kluwer - Ovid databases (Medline, Embase, PsycInfo)
  • ProQuest - ProQuest databases (eg Nursing and Allied Health, ASSIA; Health and Medical, Social Science Premium collections)

Open web resources

  • Epistemonikos Foudation
  • National Library of Medicine / NCBI, USA for PubMed
  • National Health Service, for NHS Knowledge and Library Hub: the Team for the Literature searching modules are Sarah Lewis, Michelle Maden, Wayne Troake, Tracey Pratchett, Mandy Davis, Tracey Geddis

Images acknowledged in text.



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