How to develop an effective search strategy – finding info for a literature reviewThe range of resources available and how to use them to find good quality and relevant informationEvaluating information for quality and relevance
April may seem a long time away but there’s a lot to do!
They’re looking for primary research to review/appraise. Need data to analyse (although review articles also useful)Evidence of comp. Literature search – should make a good effort and detail it in methodology.Range and quality of references, current and relevant, including evidence of authoritative sources used. Use of correct referencing style, including in-text referencing.
E.g. Comparing two treatments for a condition – would need to do several searches.PICO – may help to narrow the search, e.g. looking at one particular outcome, one population.What exactly do you want to include/exclude – methods, populations studied etc. This can be applied later when reviewing the search results.
EXAMPLE: The role of bacterial infection in tumour developmentHowyour keywords are combined to make your search effective.Searching for article on X AND YSearching for articles about x OR y OR zHelpful for writing up strategy
So far we’ve looked at:Developing a search strategyComing up with useful keywords
MDX cookie for off site access – set this on your home computer, laptop etc
Google [ordinary search]Familiar and easy to useFinds too much informationFast resultsAccess from any computerAccess to some books and journalsDesigned to sell you things eg. shoesSearch results sponsored…no accident that Wikipedia, Amazon etc at top of search resultsSearches for info from any sourcePay for academic informationSummonEasy to useFinds lots of academic infoFast resultsAccess from any computerAccess to lots of books and journalsDesigned to find you information: up-to-date, focussed/specificSearch results by relevanceSearches quality resources eg. Peer reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings , research etcFree access to full text ie. Information not freely available elsewhere
Who’s used Google Scholar before?Better than Google and some good results if you can see what’s available at Middlesex and are logged into UniHub before you start
Setting up your library links allows you to see what’s available to you as a MU student
But you’ll need to be logged in through My UniHub (My Study-My Library) so that you can access Full Text @ Middlesex resources as a student
Don’t bother with Linked full text - will exclude useful articles you can access...see next slide
You will need to write this up as part of methods section – no. Of results, filtering limits etc.Can set up alertsAs well as data methodology – software, statistical test etc
Inter Library Loan serviceSCONUL Access http://www.access.sconul.ac.uk/sconul-accessThe SCONUL Access Scheme provides reciprocal access and borrowing rights for staff and students to approximately 170 universities and research institutions in the UK.Other libraries (specialist, catalogues etc):British Library http://www.bl.uk/COPAChttp://copac.ac.uk/ COPAC is a catalogue that gives access to the merged online catalogues of members of the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL). Search25http://www.search25.ac.uk/search across higher education library catalogues in the London area in one search, including journals in the Union List of Serials (ULS).SUNCAThttp://www.suncat.ac.uk/ SUNCAT, a union catalogue of serials (journals) for the UK, is a tool for locating serials held in UK libraries. More information: http://tinyurl.com/bmsotherlibs(information from LibGuide)http://bit.ly/visitingotherlibraries (info from UniHub)
Also ‘Accessing e-resources’ guide.Referencing and Plagiarism guide includes information on how to reference material correctly.Also information about Plato, LDU support and links to helpsheets.Referencing tutorials available on request.BMS SubjectGuide bring together all the resources for your subject area.
Appointments available in December and January
http:// unihub.mdx.ac.uk / study / library
Today we will look at...
• Planning an effective search strategy
• Using the databases and other resources effectively
• Identifying and accessing relevant journal articles
• Be the early bird!
• Start gathering your literature as
early as you can
• Time to deal with the unexpected
and seek guidance
• What do I need to find?
• How and where am I going to find the information?
• How do I know if the information is good quality?
Dissertation marking criteria
What do you need to find?
Where will you find it?
• Appraisal of primary research
sources demonstrates understanding
of the methodology and/or theory
What keywords will you use?
Referencing and Citation
• Evidence of a comprehensive
literature search which draws on
relevant and up to date references
• Correctly formatted and accurate
citation style throughout the text and
in the Bibliography
Range and quality of
references, evidence that
authoritative sources used
In-text referencing and use of
standard referencing style
Planning your search
• Areas of interest
• Scope of subject
• Define your question – what do you want to know?
What are the main concepts?
• Identify significant keywords
• Identify related terms
• Identify broader and narrower concepts
• Watch out for spelling & terminology, e.g. UK/US,
• A topic from last year:
“Chances of congenital malformation with the
exposure of pregnant women to phenobarbital”
• Synonyms: birth defects, congenital abnormalities,
• Related terms: pregnancy complications, risks
• Broader terms: Anti-epileptic drugs
• US/UK – fetal/foetal outcome
A literature search
• Start off with a broad review of the literature - should help
to develop your ideas and your search strategy.
• Having defined / narrowed your search topic, you can
then focus on the research / literature that can contribute
to your work.
• Searching the literature can help you to piece together a
picture of the network of citations and then identify the
core works to review.
• You may need to “kiss a lot of frogs”!
The PICO model
• Patient / population / problem
Sources to search
• Google Scholar
• Individual journals specific to your topic
Key databases for BMS literature
… + Some full text
• Science Citation
The leading science
and technical journals
• Science Direct
• Simple database useful as a starting point
• Will cross search library resources: books, journal databases,
• Remember - NOT subject specific
Google vs Summon
• Familiar and easy to use
• Easy to use
• Finds too much information
• Finds lots of academic info
• Fast results
• Fast results
• Access from any computer
• Access from any computer
• Access to some books and
• Access to lots of books and
• Designed to sell you things
• Designed to find you information
• Search results sponsored
• Search results by relevance
• Searches for info from any source • Searches quality resources
• Pay for academic information
• Free access to full text
• Allows you to move forwards and backwards
in the literature
• Use Google Scholar, Summon or Science
Accessing full text
• If using Summon or Science Direct, make sure
you have ticked / selected the appropriate limits.
• Check the library catalogue – Journal A-Z for
• In MEDLINE, „Check library holdings‟ will do this
• Check Google Scholar for links to open access
• For best results, set the Middlesex cookie
• myUniHub > My Study > My Library
• Athens login = UniHub login
• N.B. If Middlesex isn‟t mentioned on the
screen, choose Alternative login
• Troubleshooting guide on library subject pages:
But it’s not in the Library!
• Inter Library Loans
• Sconul Access
• British Library
• Institutional repositories
• More information: http://tinyurl.com/bmsotherlibs
Library Subject Guides
myUniHub > My Study > My Library > Library Subject Guides
• Available to consult in the library
• Search the library catalogue for “Biomedical
dissertation” to see the full list
• Request and collect from the UniHelp desk
• It is vital that your work is properly referenced
and you have full bibliographic details of all
• Keep a note of the details as you go along!
• RefWorks reference management software
Be an early bird
• 1:1 appointments available with
your Liaison Librarian here:
Need further help?
Your Librarians are :
Alison Randall firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Edwards email@example.com
Ask a Librarian http://askalibrarian.mdx.ac.uk/