Click on Journals and Databases, then select Healthcare Databases Advanced Search
Log in with your Athens username and password
If you don’t have an Athens account you can self-register for one, but you’ll find it easier to ask the library service to create an account for you. (Note that NHS Athens accounts are restricted to NHS members of staff, and indicate the organisation which employs you.)
The databases: to learn more about what each database contains click on About
The Medline contents: similar descriptions are available for each of the others
A typical search How does aspirin compare with paracetamol for delivering pain relief from headaches?
As we’re looking for the answer to a clinical query the PICO acronym may help: P the patient or population you’re considering I the intervention. The thing that is being done to treat or care for your patient C the comparison. This may be a comparison with other interventions, or the sort of research design that will best answer your question. Sometimes, there won’t be a comparison. O the outcome. What (you hope) the intervention will do to your patient
In this case Patients: suffering from headaches Intervention: aspirin Comparison: paracetamol Outcome: pain relief
Alternative terms Some terms may be described in different words. Drug names in particular commonly have both brand and generic names. In this case paracetamol’s generic name is acetaminophen.
Word endings Many words can end with a variety of suffixes. Alternative endings for the word nurse include nursing, nurses, nursed. Headache may appear in some references as headaches. Typing the word headache* allows you to search for all possible word endings simultaneously.
Step one: search for headache*
A forecast of the number of references we’ll find appears. Click on the search box to perform the search.
The search history records each search step you make
Step two: search for aspirin
Step three: search for paracetamol
Only 7879 references - let’s try step four: search for acetaminophen
We’re interested in papers that deal with either paracetamol or acetaminophen
Step five: we tick these two boxes, select OR, and click Combine selected
Step six: combine all the individual words which we want to see in our papers of interest. We want all the words in each paper so we use AND.
84 results: to look at these results click on the number itself
Scroll down the screen to view these results
Ticking the box that says Display Abstracts allows you to read the summaries
Change the number of records displayed on your screen by altering the Items per page setting
Select papers of interest by ticking the boxes next to the titles
Consider carefully before changing the default options at the bottom of the page…
These are currently set to: Selecting PDF as the output format. This bundles your selected results neatly together in a document that’s attractive and easy to read Display format Medium. This means you’ll be able to read the abstracts in the document you save Include search history. This enables you to reconstruct your search should you need to
Once you’ve decided whether to follow this or ignore this advice, click on Save results
Choose whether to open the document straight away or whether to save it somewhere on your PC
This completes the basic literature searching session. For additional help contact a Trust library.