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Library Session for Health Careers Opportunity Program, Summer 2012

  Presented by Michael Sholinbeck, msholinb@library.berkeley.edu

URL for this web page: www.lib.berkeley.edu/PUBL/SPH/HCOP.html

What Is Public Health?



The Public Health Library, Location, Reference, Off-Campus Access to Library Resources

Sheldon Margen Public Health Library: Library Summer hours: M-F 10-5
(Longer hours during Fall and Spring semesters)

Reference Services:
In-person come to 1 University Hall (in the basement): Summer Reference Desk hours: M-F 2-4pm
Other options include IM chat (24/7) and email reference.

How to set up off-campus access to library resources (databases, online journals, etc.)

Before You Start: Your Topic, the Scope of Your Search, Where to Look

What causes disease?
My thought process first led me to thinking about the interaction and interdependence of environmental factors (pollution, disasters, outbreaks) and social factors (smoking, obesity, drug use):

  Asthma in West Oakland is caused by and/or made worse by smoking and air pollution.

Then I moved on to thinking a little more broadly:

    » Maybe it is "caused" by inadequate regulation of transportation, energy production, and/or tobacco ...
      » Or by neighborhood characteristics and/or historical racism in housing ...
        » Are genetic factors relevant?
          » What about health insurance disparities which affects access to appropriate prescription drugs?
            » Is lack of appropriate child care services for working women a factor?

Is your topic researchable?

  1. "The harmful effects of domestic beer consumption among students at Cal's Big Game"
  2. "Health effects of binge drinking among college students in the United States"
  3. "Alcohol consumption by young adults"

  4.   » It may prove difficult to find research on very narrow topics, or to cope with the vast literature on an un-focused, broad topic.
      » Figuring out the scope of your literature search also helps you decide when you have "enough."

Let's talk about indexing!
» Do you want articles on labor or articles on labor? Or is it labour?

Indexing provides a way to create more precise searches, especially for topics that are vague or ambiguous. Using index terms (sometimes called descriptors; in PubMed they are called Medical Subject Headings, or MeSH) also helps you avoid the need to think of every possible synonym or alternate spelling of your search terms. More on this in the database sections below.

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PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 21 million journal articles, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks

PubMed top tips for focusing your search:

  1. Combine terms with AND or OR
  2. Use Filters (age group, publication type, language, etc.)
  3. Search for your term as a word in the title or title or abstract (using Filters)
  4. Use MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), with subheadings
  5. Use the Related Articles link, once you find a set of relevant citations
  6. Try PubMed's Clinical Queries or Topic-Specific Queries

» PubMed Quick Guide: Basic search help.
» PubMed exercise set (PDF; from the Public Health Library)

» Combining search terms with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT - remember Venn diagrams?)

» Limits: Limit your search by language, age group, publication type, publication date, and more. Also use Limits search for words in the article title, abstract, or Medical Subject Heading (MeSH). Note that Limits stay in effect until you clear them.

» Use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
» Saving citations temporarily using the Clipboard

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Beyond PubMed: Other Resources for Finding Journal Articles and More   Getting Started with UC-eLinks     access paid by UCB

Remember those PubMed "Top Tips"? Most are applicable to the databases below as well as several other databases.

Citations from books, book chapters, journal articles, technical reports, and more. Subjects include agriculture, agricultural economics, nutrition, food assistance programs, etc.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Food security/insecurity, WIC program, etc.

Global Health
Citations in environmental and occupational health, food safety and hygiene, infectious diseases, medical microbiology, nutrition, public health, toxicology, zoonoses, and more. Sources include journals, books, reports, conference proceedings, patents, theses, and electronic only publications. Significantly more international coverage than PubMed.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Search by (relatively narrow) geographic locations (ie, setting), or country in which work published.
» Global Health Database Exercise (PDF)
» Global Health Help (PDF)

Citations in psychology, behavior, and related disciplines; includes citations of journal articles, conference proceedings, books and book chapters, reports and dissertations.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Economic security, community attitudes, socioeconomic class attitudes, labeling, test/measurement index ...

Sociological Abstracts
Citations in demography, education, law, social psychology, and sociology. Sources include journals, books, conferences and meetings, and dissertations.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Cultural capital, peer relations, victimization, family structure, strategies, neighborhoods, social constructionism, ...
» Sociological Abstracts Exercise (PDF)
» Sociological Abstracts Guide

Web of Science
Large, multidisciplinary database; links to cited articles and times cited are provided for retrieved articles.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Scope of database is broad; best resources for cited reference searching.
» Cited Reference Searching exercise (PDF)
» Search Tips for Web of Science
» Cited Reference Searching

The above are but a sample of the many databases available to find article and other citations.
See the Public Health Library's Indexes and Databases web page for more.
Ask a librarian for help if you are having trouble with your topic.

Use the library catalogs to find books, reports, etc. on your topic. Books, while not often where original research is published, can often provide an overview of a topic and get you started with some key articles.

Information about your community

See also the Public Health Library's Statistical/Data Resources web page

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Critically Evaluating What You Find

What is evidence? Things to keep in mind:

What to consider when looking at survey or estimated data:
(Adopted from information on the UCSF Family Health Outcomes Project web site.)

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Using RefWorks to Organize Your Citations and Create Bibliographies

RefWorks is a web-based tool that allows users to create a citation database by importing references from online databases. You can use these references in writing papers, and automatically format the paper in any of hundreds of citations styles in seconds. Access to RefWorks is provided by the UCB Library to UCB students, staff, and faculty.

RefWorks Exercise Set and Handout (PDF; from the Public Health Library)

Save your search strategies
Nearly all the databases you use to find articles, etc., retain your search history. Literature reviews, like epidemiological research, should be rigorous and reproducible. Save or print your search history to help document your search strategy, which will include:

» Using PubMed's Clipboard and My NCBI can help with both saving your search strategy and the citations you find. See links in the PubMed section, above.

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