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Health Sciences: 2nd & Final Year AHP & Healthcare Science Students

Help with Using Databases

These sections below give you links to PowerPoint presentations and worksheets for our most popular databases.

CINAHL Subject Heading Searching

CINAHL subject headings are assigned to each record to describe the content of the article.Subject headings are descriptive terms added by the database creators to describe the content of articles in a consistent, standardised vocabulary; regardless of the terminology used by the original authors.

Link to CINAHL

Medline - Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) Searching

MeSH provides a consistent way to retrieve information where different terms or spellings are used by authors for the same concept.

Link to Medline

Web of Science

Web of Science Citation Searching

Unlike most other databases, the cited reference list of each article is included in all Web of Science records, and this enables a number of valuable and unique search functions associated with the linkage between citing and cited articles.

Link to Web of Science

The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library (named after Dr Archie Cochrane) is a collection of databases in medicine and other healthcare specialties provided by the Cochrane Collaboration and other organizations. At its core is the collection of Cochrane Reviews, a database of systematic reviews and meta-analyses which summarize and interpret the results of medical research.


DelphiS Keyword Searching

DelphiS is a single multi-disciplinary interface which allows you to discover electronic and print items in the library's collection including other academic resources/databases that we subscribe to including CINAHL, Medline, Web of Science, Scopus, PsycINFO and many more.

Link to DelphiS

Grey Literature

Grey literature is the term given to non-traditional publications (material not published by mainstream publishers). For example - leaflets, reports, conference proceedings, government documents, preprints, theses, clinical trials, blogs, tweets, etc.. 

The majority of grey literature is generally not peer-reviewed so it is very important to critically appraise any grey literature before using it unless you are using a web site like Evidence Search.

Listed below you will find a selection of sources you can use to search for grey literature. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other useful sources of information available.

Evidence Search Health and Social Care (NICE) provides access to selected and authoritative evidence in health, social care and public health

The British Library has a comprehensive collection of public available reports, conferences and theses covering all subject disciplines

HealthKnowledge is a public health learning platform

Open Grey is a multidisciplinary European database, covering science, technology, biomedical science, economics, social science and humanities 

The Campbell Collaboration is an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions in crime & Justice, International Development, and Social Welfare 

The King's Fund  is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England

Social Care Online is the UK's largest online database of information on al aspects of social work amd social care

UK Clinical Research network Study Portfolio is a repository for recording research taking place within the NHS in the UK.  

National Technical Information Service provides access to the results of both US and non-US government sponsored research

Your Literature Search

As part of your Research Proposal you will need to undertake a Literature Search, this search will help you to find existing research and information about your chosen topic. From the results of this search you will be able to produce a Literature Review which is a written piece of work that summarises and analyses the literature and information you have found in your search.  

Help with your search strategy

Learn how to put together an effective search strategy, search reliable sources and achieve better results! Take a look at the links below ... 

Stage 1 - Creating Your Search Strategy/Planning Your Literature Search

Before you actually start searching using DelphiS and the health subject related databases it is essential that you spend some time thinking about and planning your search. This presentation will take you through that procedure. 

Stage 2 - Starting Your Search

When you have put together your search strategy you can start searching. We suggest that you start by conducting a keyword search on DelphiS which will help you to 'scope' your search so that you can see what terminology is used, which databases the references are coming from (Content Provider link) and how much research has been done on your chosen topic/s. 

Following this you can use the subject related databases such as CINAHL, Medline, and PsycINFO for Subject Heading/MeSH searching.

Help with using DelphiS and the other subject related databases can be found in the column on the left but you will also find these and others on this Health Sciences LibGuides page. 

The Advantages of Using Subject Specific Databases

A DelphiS keyword search is a good start for scoping a search but it is important to move from DelphiS to using subject specific databases and this PowerPoint presentation will explain some of the advantages.

Evidence Search - the heath professionals alternative to Google

What is Evidence Search and what does it contain?

  • Evidence Search is an online search engine that identifies relevant clinical, public health and social care guidance.
  • Evidence Search gives free access to health, public health and social care information from over 1000 trustworthy and accredited sources.
  • All  of the information on Evidence Search is checked by a team of staff employed by NICE before it is added to the web site.
  • Its sources include the British National Formulary, Clinical Knowledge Summaries, SIGN, Cochrane Librray, Social Care Online, GOV.UK, NICE Guidelines and many more.

Link to Evidence Search


Referencing your work correctly is essential. If you acknowledge the work of others you are taking steps to avoid plagiarising someone else's work. You are also allowing the reader to trace your line of research. This link will take you to the e-version of Cite Them Right which is the version of Harvard which the Faculty of Health Sciences now uses.

Further information on citing and referencing can be found here


Image of book and quotation marks by shutterstock_374848786. Image edited and used by permission.

Useful Resources

In the boxes below you will find some useful links to print/ebooks and information about Grey Literature.

Useful print/electronic books

These are useful books which will help you with your research skills which we have in the library, please check WebCat to find other useful books which we have in stock.
Anderson, A. (2015) Statistics for big data for dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley  & Sons. WebCat link to e-book, print copy
Aveyard, H. (2014) Doing a literature review in health and social care. 3rd edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press. WebCat link to e-book , print copy
Bowling, A. (2014) Research methods in health: investigating health and health services. 4th edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press. WebCat link to print copy, e-book
Cook, A. (2004) Basic skills in statistics : a guide for healthcare professionals. London: Class WebCat link to e-book
Coughlan, M. (2013) Doing a literature review in nursing, health and social care. London: SAGE.  WebCat link to print copy
Dhamija, B. (2012) Clinical audit for doctors and healthcare professionals : a comprehensive guide to best practice as part of clinical governance. London: BPP Learning Media. WebCat link to print copy, WebCat link to e-book
Dixon, N.(2008) Getting clinical audit right to benefit patients. Romsey, Healthcare Quality Quest. WebCat link to print copy
Field, A. P. (2013) Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics : and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. London: Sage. Link to print copy
Foster, L. (2015) Beginning statistics : an introduction for social scientists. London: Sage. WebCat link to print copy
Greenhalgh, T. (2014) How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine. 5th edn. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell: BMJ Books. WebCat link to print copy, WebCat link to e-book
Kogan, M & Redfern, SJ (1995)  Making use of clinical audit : a guide to practice in the health professions. Buckingham: Open University Press. WebCat link to print copy
National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2002) Principles for best practice in clinical audit: Abingdon: Radcliffe Medical  WebCat link to print copy 
Pallant, J. (2016) SPSS survival manual : a step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. WebCat link to print copy
Reddy, PS. (2012) Introduction to clinical effectiveness and audit in healthcare. Bloomington: Xlibris Corp. WebCat link to print copy
Ridley, D. (2012) The literature review.  2nd edn.  London: Sage. WebCat link to print copy
Siu, C. (2013) Doing a research project in nursing and midwifery : a basic guide to research using the literature review methodology. London: Sage  WebCat  link to print copy
Stewart, A. (2016) Basic statistics and epidemiology. 4th edn. London: CRC Press.  WebCat link to print copy, e-book
Williamson, JR & Whittaker. A. (2014) Succeeding in literature reviews and research project plans for nursing students. 2nd edn. London: SAGE/Learning Matters. WebCat link to print copy

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