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Life Sciences: Journals & Databases

Researching for Assignments

The Library provides a range of online resources for your use. If you are in the process of researching for an assignment, we would suggest  the following the steps below to identify the information you need:

Step 1Print & eBooks. Books provide an overview of a topic and will help to identify the terms used - useful when searching the databases and the web. Start with the suggested reading from your tutors but also look for similar titles on the Library Catalogue (use the More Like This link).

Step 2. Summon. Summon searches across many of our collections in one go. Summon is useful as a scoping tool for your topic, to see which aspects have been written about and to identify resources within the Birmingham City University Library collections.

Step 3. Journals & databases. Focus your search to find more material. Use an individual health-related subject database (see right) to drill down into your chosen topic. By including NHS Evidence in your search strategy you will also find NICE Guidelines and other resources available from NHS services.

Step 4. Tracing papers not linked to full text in the databases. Check the A-Z of Journal Titles. Do a web search - many publishers provide some open access. If these fail, request the Library to obtain the paper for you.

Remember that help is available (See right). Either use our enquiry service or arrange a time to spend with a member of the Liaison Librarian Team.

Summon

Summon searches across all our print books and journals, the majority of our electronic journals and our ebooks. When you enter a search in Summon you will get references to books, journal articles, and more.

 

Useful databases and journals

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Stuck? Need some help logging in?

If you are getting stuck logging on to any of our electronic resources, contact the eLibrary team via elibrary@bcu.ac.uk and we will try to get back you within a working day.It helps us to help you if you can be specific about which resource you are trying to connect to.

If you have a problem with your network username and password or haven't received one please contact CICT Student Support or phone them on 0121 331 6543.

Video Guides (and other TIPS)

If you want advice on using the databases, help with search techniques or choice of databases for your topic contact the Mary Seacole Library Liaison Team who are happy to arrange one-to-one and small group tutorials, or use the Library online help available at Library Help. Further information on support offered by Library and Learning Resources can be found under the Help Me! tab.

Video guides to using the databases and finding the full text of papers can be found in the tabs in this box.

TIPS guides (in Word or pdf)    

 

Many of the journal indexing databases do not provide access to all of their indexed content. Library and Learning Resources subscribes to many journal titles which, though indexed by the databases, do not have the full text linked directly from the database. To make sure that you are able to link to all of the available titles and obtain the full text when they are not, prepare for your search by doing the following:
Preparing for a database search. To check the availability of full text where it is not linked from the database, open additional tabs in the browser to A-Z of Full Text, Google and the Inter-Library Request Form. 
Finding the full text - From database to pdf. Some of the references found on a database will not have a full text link. By checking the A-Z of Journal Titles you see if the University subscribes to the journal title and, if it does, follow the links to he full text.
Click here to see video Finding the full text - From database via Google. Some references you find in a database will not be available through the University. Always check Google to see if there is any open access. If this fails use the Article request form to ask us to get it for you.
Finding a journal paper from a reading list, a reference given in class or a published reference list.
Finding a journal paper from the title in CINAHL: How to find a journal paper when the title of the paper is known and you have been directed to find it in CINAHL.

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The following video guides demonstrate how to perform the various elements of a search on CINAHL. They have no soundtrack and none are longer than 60 seconds.
Link to YouTube Accessing CINAHL from iCity
Link to YouTube Entering the first search term
Link to YouTube Entering a second search term
Link to YouTube Combining search terms using AND
Link to YouTube Limiting a search to full text and journals published in the UK and Ireland
Link to YouTube Viewing the search results and full text
Link to YouTube Printing a search history (search strategy)

The Cochrane Library consists of a series of databases, all of which can be searched together.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) consists of Cochrane Systematic Reviews and Protocols for Systematic Reviews. These are Open Access and Full Text.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) consists of abstracts for systematic reviews that have been published in journals and by other organizations. Some of these may have links to Open Access full text.

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CCRCT) consists of references (with abstracts) to published controlled trials found in journals by the Cochrane Review Teams. These are not full text and therefore would need to be checked against the University holdings

Link to YouTube Searching the Cochrane Library: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)
Link to YouTube Searching the Cochrane Library: The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effect (DARE)
Link to YouTube Searching the Cochrane Library: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CCRCT)
Link to YouTube Searching the Cochrane Library: Topic Searches
   
   
   
   

 

NHS Evidence is the main source for health and social care guidelines. It is managed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and includes guidelines from, among others, NICE, SCIE, SIGN, and the HTA Programme as well as the NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries on current evidence and the British National Formulary (BNF).

NHS Evidence is open access and most of the documents it will find are open full text. Below are two videos which demonstrate basic searches of the two key resources (Evidence Search and CKS).

The following video guides demonstrate how to search Social Care Online. They have no soundtrack.
Link to YouTube Doing a Basic Search
Link to YouTube Combining terms to narrow or focus a search using AND
Link to YouTube Using the filters to find research papers published in the UK
Link to YouTube Finding the full text of journal papers
SUMMON is a useful service to start investigating a topic. It does replace using the journal indexing services but will deliver a range of references from different disciplines, not all of which can be found in a single journal indexing database. Note that it is only searching resources subscribed to by the University and will not identify everything that will be identified by a search across multiple databases. Viewing the following videos as a sequence demonstrates how to build a search in SUMMON.
Link to YouTube Searching SUMMON for full text journal papers.
Searching for a phrase in SUMMON. Phrase searching places two or more words in speech marks ("   ").This search technique reduces the results to only those which contain the phrase. When searching for two or more words this will remove any results which only have one not the other. 
Reducing search results by adding terms to increase focus. Because words and phrases can be used in multiple contexts, adding additional terms to give the context will help to make a search more specific to your needs.
In many of the databases it is possible to set up a personal account which you can then use to save search strategies, individual references and set up alerts. These accounts are not usually with the database but with the host provider. Thus it can be possible to have one account which works across multiple databases. For example: EBSCOhost supply us with CINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO, British Education Index, ERIC, Child Development & Adolescent Studies and GreenFILE. One account will work across all of these databases. 
Link to YouTube Setting up an account with EBSCOhost
Saving a Search History in EBSCOhost. How to save a search strategy for future use. This can help when you have limited time to review your results or are interupted.
Rerunning a saved Search History in EBSCOhost
Saving references in EBSCOhost. 
Creating Custom Folders in EBSCOhost. This can be a useful way of keeping track of your searches. Custom folders can be set for a topic or for a module. 
Using Custom Folders in EBSCOhost. How to save a reference into a particular custom folder.
Creating an Alert in EBSCOhost. Alerts are useful if you are liable to need regular updating. For longer projects, where the literature search takes place early on, Alerts are a way of making sure that you are aware of anything published after the initial phase is complete. 

TRiP (Turning Reseach into Practice) is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.

TRiP provide a series of videos explaining how to get the most from the database. Click here to view the videos.

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