Skip to main content

Health Sciences: Databases/help using databases

Key Databases

Working Off-Campus

Very few of our resources are freely available to any web user. If you're at home, the easiest way around this problem is to set up Southampton Virtual Environment 

Planning a Literature Search

Before you start a literature it is essential that you spend time planning your search. This presentation will take you step-by-step through the procedure. 

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

CINAHL Keyword Searching

The keyword search feature searches CINAHL in a manner similar to a Google search. It’s adequate for quick, simple searches but it does not take into account the meaning of the words used as search terms, so if a term has more than one meaning (such as "stroke" - swimming, heat or cerebrovascular accident?), irrelevant records may be retrieved. 

Link to CINAHL 

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.


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 Keyword Searching

The Web of Science allows you to search over 12,000 journals and 148,000 conference proceedings across the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities and medical/health sciences to find high quality research papers. it will also enable you to carry out Cited Reference Searching to find articles cited a previously published work.

Link to Web of Science

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

Supplementary databases