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A Guide to Literature Searching A handy guide to finding the most relevant and reliable information on the internet
Learning Objectives • By the end of this session you will be able to: • Realize the importance of literature searching • Recognise the appropriate resources required to search • Identify main databases suitable for each given search • Correctly identify and distinguish between search terms, search fields and limits • Demonstrate ability to combine search terms to complete a search • Generate a report of search results in an appropriate format suitable for sharing and saving
How To Use This resource can be used as a stand alone resource, as part of a taught session or as a refresher tool for those who have already been on the session. It can be used by any NHS Bolton Staff – though it has been specifically designed with the needs of nursing staff and allied health professionals in mind. Each section will contain where applicable: • An introduction to the topic area • A guide to using this area • An assessment to cement your knowledge! • A case study that can be used as a template • A ‘refresher’ section that can be used as a reference Some Guidance on using the resource: • You can navigate using the left hand pane • This is not intended to be a entirely linear resource • Some sections you will need to click the forward button below • Some sections you will need to make a choice or answer a question – click on the answer you believe to correct • Some require you to click on a linked word. They will be underlined. Click here to continue
Before You Start Have you ever done any literature searching before? Please click the answer which is most appropriate to your needs: No – This is all new to me! Yes – But not recently/using different resources/I’ve forgotten how! Yes – I just need to refresh Yes – I just want to use the case study as a template
Refreshing - Overview What area of knowledge do you need to refresh? –Please click on appropriate link: • Accessing the databases • Selecting the correct databases • Creating Your Search • Sharing and Saving Your Search • I just want to look at the case study
Why Literature Search? • Literature Searching allows you to access the most reliable information possible • Can support Evidence Based Practice • Can support and best practice and underpin clinical decision making • A skill that you can use throughout your career • Can save on duplication of work and primary research
Literature Searching Tools • The NHS has specific resources to help you find the information you desire. To access many of these you need an Athens account • Do You Have a NHS Athens Account? Please click the appropriate button below No Not Sure Yes
Accessing The Tools - Introduction • All the resources are available at www.library.nhs.uk • You will need to your Athens Details to access them • Once logged in – The resources are available in ‘Healthcare Databases Advanced Search’ : Double click this
Accessing The Tools - Refresher • To log on you need your Athens Details • Log on via www.library.nhs.uk • Select the ‘Healthcare Databases Advanced Search’ Tab on the homepage
The Databases - This is the screen you should see. It gives you a list of all the databases you can access: What subjects the database covers Click ‘about’ to find out more details about the database
Databases - Introduction • A Database of this kind brings thousands , sometimes millions of journal and research articles together in one place. They normally focus on 1 topic specifically – the databases here focus on health. • Each database focuses on a different area/speciality • They allow you to search for valid articles and reviewed pieces of literature • Make sure you choose the right database to meet your needs – this can completely affect your search. Each Database tells you what subject areas it covers. • If one or more are suitable repeat your search with each database. Searching multiple databases at once can negatively affect your search results
Databases – Which One to Choose? It is important to choose the correct database. But which one is right for your search? • MEDLINE – Covers all aspects of health – A good place to start any search • EMBASE also has a general health focus but a slight focus on pharmacology • Nursing/Practitioner themed research? – look at CINAHL or BNI • PSYCHINFO – focuses on psychology and associated fields • Management or Administration based? Try HEALTH BUSINESS ELITE OR HMIC • AMED covers complimentary medicine. Click on the titles – they will take you to descriptions of each individual database. Once you’re happy click to go onto the next slide – see if you can answer the question correctly?
Question – Databases? Question: You are doing a search on the weight loss and the role physical activity can have on male individuals over the age of 45 with Type 2 Diabetes. Choose which database do you think is most useful? Click on your cloud of choice… Medline AMED HMIC Psych-Info
Sorry! • Whatever database you select you are likely to find some results • With this particular question – Medline was the best choice because as health related questions this is quite a general one • Think about the question before you choose your database – which subject area does it best fit into? • Click here to continue
Correct! • Medline – was the correct answer. This is because it covers all aspects of health. With this particular question – it does not need a focused database. This will change for every question • Whatever database you select you are likely to find some results • With this particular question – Medline was the best choice because as health related questions this is quite a general one • Think about the question before you choose your database – which subject area does it best fit into?
Databases - Refresh • The choice of database is as important as choice of keywords • Click here to view the different databases • Each database has next to it a description. • Although you can choose more than 1 database at a time – this will limit your search later. Use only 1 at a time • If more than 1 is suitable – repeat your search on a different database • If you’re unsure choose MEDLINE. It covers all aspects of health
The Search Now you know how to decipher what database is best suited to your needs , you are now going to be shown the fundamentals of ‘The Search’. This section will now examine how the search the process works and how this can best be used to your advantage. If you have a search in mind we can use those search terms. If not don’t worry – we will use the case study question! The search is broken down into 3 sections : Building The Search, Saving The Search, Sharing The Search. Each of these sections is broken down into further components. We will first look at building the search. The next page will show you some (but not all) the components of the search page you will be using. The Search
The Search Page Now you’ve selected your database, this is the screen you will see. This is where you will begin to create the search. Fields Search Box Thesaurus Map The Limits
Creating the Search This section will allow us to create a search step by step. Each step forms a foundation for the search, and gives us more opportunities to find the desired information, with the knowledge that it is relevant and suitable to your needs: • Search Terms (Key Words) • Search Fields • Using the ‘Thesaurus’/Thesaurus Mapping • Search Limits • Boolean Logic (using AND & OR) • Multiple Search Terms
Search Terms (Keywords) • The search terms are the most important aspect of the search – without these there would be no search. • These are the terms or key terms that form the basis of your search. • You can have as many or as few key terms but two or three as a minimum • The number of key terms can define the success of the search – too few it may be to vague, too many – too specific • They can be entered into the search box • A Tip – make sure your terms are spelt correctly! Insert Text Here
The ‘Fields’ • You know have the search term – now the need to select the search ‘field’ • The Field is the area that will be searched. • It is an initial limit and can ruin a search if not done correctly • There are 8to select, but the most popular are: • Title and Abstract -Searches all Titles and Abstracts • Any Field – Searches All information • Author – Searches for Author’s surname • Like search terms its important to find the balance between too specific – would your term be in the title? And too vague – would you search all fields – would that select irrelevant information? • A Tip Until you are comfortable I would choose ‘Title and Abstract Insert Text Here
Limits You now have the search term and our field. Next is the ‘Limits’ to the search These refer to areas that you wish to specifically search or specifically wish not to search If you are looking for results within a time frame this is where you would limit it. Limits are optional – sometimes they may not be relevant. This can be when you’re researching a new topic Any limits enforced will be shown by the side of the keyword Tip If you are using limits– recommend using the m on the first keyword as then when you advance through the search the limits are still being enforced Insert Text Here
Before Continuing… Creating Your Search You are doing a search on the weight loss and the role physical activity can have on male individuals over the age of 45 with Type 2 Diabetes. • Which of these limits is not necessary? • Remember the question – what information are you looking for? • Click on the wrong answer Age Limit of 45 and over • Gender Limit of Male • Date Range 2005-2010
Creating Your Search - Answer • Correct! • For the case study question no date limit has been put on • Often you may want to only search the latest literature – that is when you would limit the date range • Not Quite Right • We would choose males over the age of 45 as the are mentioned with the question • If it had asked for the latest evidence or literature, then we would add a date range – many searches do require this limit
Thesaurus Mapping (1) • You have now got the search term, the field and any limits – we can search right? • Not yet – Are you sure that the search term is the best term you could use? • What if there was a way you could check? • There is an option to best match your search term with the pre-used terms already within the database – by selecting the ‘Map to thesaurus’ button underneath the search box • This is optional and sometimes you will find that there are no better options
Thesaurus Mapping (2) • Remember if you select any of these, it will be instead of your search term not alongside • You can click the scope this will bring up further information about this word (associated terms etc.) • Choose select - it will be a replacement for your search term • Choose Exploded – it will bring up all associated words to that one • Choose Major Descriptor – it will bring up all results where the word is a focal point of literature • Choose sub heading if you are looking for particular clinical aspect of that word – this is very advanced • You are not restricted to one choice (unless you choose subheading) • Tip if you’re not happy with the words – select ‘Cancel’ and it will return you to the previous page
Thesaurus Mapping Assessment • Which of the terms brought up by thesaurus mapping is best suited for the search question: • Question: What role can physical activity play in weight loss for male’s aged over 45 with type 2 diabetes? • Click to find out!
Case Study – Creating Your Search (1) Here is an example of the importance of creating the search correctly. In line with the question the search is for diabetes in particular type 2 diabetes. At each stage I’ve added a further component. With nothing added + Title and Abstract field + Limits (Male and 45 +) + Thesaurus mapped search term (Major Descriptor: DIABETES MELLITUS, TYPE 2) Even though it is still a large number – it is only 1 of the key terms – it’s a good start!
Creating Your Search – Multiple Search Terms • You now know how to find your defined search term – it’s time to use multiple search terms and begin to combine them • Repeat the previous ‘creating your search steps’ – Search Terms, Field, Limits and Thesaurus Mapping. • Once you have each search term – it is time to combine each term • You may find that there is more than one suitable search term for a key word of choice – the case study shows that both ‘Motor Activity’ and E’xercise’ are suitable for the search needs
Creating Your Search – Boolean Phrases • Boolean or Boolean Logic refers to how you combine your searches • We will be using the Boolean Phrases AND & OR • AND combines your terms - looking for the results which contain ALL the terms selected • OR simply combines the searches. This is used when you have more than suitable word – in terms of the case study – Motor Activity or Exercise • To combine searches mark the relevant boxes, choose your Boolean phrase and click ‘combine selected searches’
Creating Your Search – Multiple Search terms • You can now begin to combine your searches • You combine 2 or more search terms • The number in brackets refers to the search stage no. • In the case study Motor Activity (2) OR Exercise (3) have been combined =(5) • Then DIABETES MELLITUS, TYPE 2 Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 (1)AND the combined search above (5) = (6) • This combination of two searches (6) has then been combined with the final Search Term - Weight Loss (4) to result in our final combined search (7) • Tip - Be careful not to over combine! • From 22,000 to 10 in 7 steps!
Congratulations! • You know have completed your 1st search! • A few tips before continuing… • If you want to view your results just click on the within the ‘Hits’ Column • Remember there is no ‘perfect’ number. There may only be 2 ‘hits’ – there may be 82! • If you are getting 0 check back on your steps – you may have gone a step to far, incorrectly linked to searches (AND instead of OR) or maybe even misspelt a word! • If you create the search in a step by step manner as shown – any issues you may encounter are rectified a lot more easily • This manner can be described as the Hansel and Gretal approach! Because you can always find your way back!
Combining Searches - Assessment You have found two search terms that both could be used to describe a key word within your search. Which boolean phrase is best used in the following example? • Physical Activity AND Exercise • Physical Activity OR Exercise
Remember! • AND – this is best used when you want to find litertature that contains both search terms in – narrowing the search • OR – this is best used when your looking for literature that may contain either in – expanding the search • If you want – do the case study search step by step as shown throughout. However instead of exercise OR physical activity, select exercise AND physical activity. How many results did you get? 0?
Creating Your Search - Refresher • Always check your spelling of search terms • It will be simpler to follow if you finalize your search terms before beginning to combine • You do not have to choose fields, limits, or thesaurus – they are optional tools to help narrow the search quickly and effectively • Field defines where you search for information within the result – i.e. Title and Abstract • Limits are best done with the first search term – they will then be set throughout the search • Limits focuses the search on the date (age of results), gender, age etc. desired • Thesaurus will search the database for associate key search terms – can be useful to narrow down a search • Major Descriptor = focus of literature. • Explode = All literature associated with that term • When combine searching – ensure you use AND & OR correctly. • OR combines all results of two searches • AND filters out results only with selected search terms in them • There is no perfect number for a completed search
Saving Your Search • You’ve finished your search – but want to come back and have a look at it a later date. How do you save? • Above your search history there are two boxes: • 1) Save Selected Rows • 2) Save All • It is recommended that you choose ‘Save All’ especially if you plan on coming back to the search. • Give your search a name and your saved! • To access a saved search – select ‘My Saved Searches’ on the left hand name of the search screen
Sharing Your Search (1) • It is possible to share your search without having to print it out or giving your Athens details away • Click on the ‘Hits’ of the results you wish to share • The sharing options are at the bottom of the page (scroll down)
Sharing Your Search (2) • Select the results you wish to share (or select all from the bottom panel) • Select the output format – PDF is universally seen as the most ‘user-friendly’ option • Select the Display format – each option gives differing levels of detail– the full option gives the full abstract. Check out each option to see which one best suits your needs • Actions is how you want to send the information. Email gives you the option to directly email the document. • Export saves the document before hand – It is recommended that you select ‘export’ as it is more reliable of the two
Saving and Sharing - Refresher • Saving a search allows you to come back to it at a later date • The save options are above your search history • Choose Save All • Save! • Previously saved searches are available under the ‘Recover Saved Searches’ option on the left hand side • Creating a report of your results is an efficient effective and reader friendly way of sharing your search results • You need to click on the ‘hits’ option of the results you wish to share • The share options are at the bottom of this page • Select the most appropriate output and display format. • PDF’s are universally read (recommended) • Full will show all the information (recommended) • Export results to save them onto your computer • Email will directly email to recipient. • Export is the better option
Some Final Pointers • Have you got your NHS Athens details? • Do you know which database to use? • Do you have your keywords? There is no spell check – are they spelt correctly? • What Limits are you going to use? Is it date, gender or age specific? • The more methodical you are, the easier it is to expand the search. Think Hansel & Gretal! • Remember there is no ‘perfect’ number for a search – sometimes there are 100 relevant articles, sometimes there is 1. Sometimes there are 0! • If you’re sharing your results – choose the right format to save and share. PDF’s can be easily shared & printed . Always Save! • Finally – If in doubt or stuck please contact us here at the library – we are always happy to help in anyway we can: • Nhsbolton.firstname.lastname@example.org 01204 462490 Happy Searching!
Useful Links Useful Links www.library.nhs.uk – Health Information Resources http://boltonpct.pbworks.com/ - NHS Bolton Library Homepage www.evidence.nhs.uk – NHS Evidence
Case Study This will use the following question as a case study – you can follow its path or use the stages with your own keywords Question: What role can physical activity play in weight loss for male’s aged over 45 with type 2 diabetes? Click on section to see that particular section of the case study • Database Choice • Creating Your Search • Saving • Sharing Remember you can follow this or use it as a framework for your research!
Information Created by: Michael Cook • Information correct as of 15/04/10 • To be reviewed 15/05/10 • For Further Info Contact: email@example.com
Help! If You’re Having Trouble Remember – use the case study as a guide You can always back up on the internet explorer to undo a search step If you get stuck – don’t worry, don’t panic – contact us: Email us by clicking here or ring us (01204) 462490