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Library Session for PH219D, Fall 2011

URL for this web page: www.lib.berkeley.edu/PUBL/SPH/PH291D.html


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

Sheldon Margen Public Health Library: Library hours: M-Th 9-8, F 9-5, Sa-Su 1-5

Reference Services
In-person come to 1 University Hall (in the basement): Reference Desk hours: M-F 10-12, 2-4
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).
Then I moved on to thinking a little more broadly:
  » Is exacerbation of asthma in West Oakland "caused" by air pollution and/or smoking?
    » Or, is it "caused" by inadequate regulation of transportation, energy production, and/or tobacco?
      » Or by historical racism in housing and neighborhood characteristics?
        » What about genetic factors?
          » What about access to appropriate prescription drugs?

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.

What is the scope of your search?

Which disciplines are concerned with your topic?
» Answering this question will help you decide which databases to search for literature.
Although PubMed may be the best place to start for most public health topics, you may miss key literature if you do not use other resources.
Use your question as the basis for deciding where to search.

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 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 (and a small number of books/book chapters), 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 Limits (Age group, Publication type, language, etc.)
  3. Search for your term as a word in the title or title or abstract (using Limits)
  4. Use MeSH, with subheadings
  5. Try PubMed's Clinical Queries or Topic-Specific Queries
  6. Use the Related Articles link, once you find a set of relevant citations

» PubMed Quick Guide: Basic search help.
» PubMed exercise set (.doc; 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):
» Clinical Queries: Evidence-based PubMed filters: » Topic-Specific Queries "Canned" search strategies that retrieve a citation subset of PubMed. Topic-specific queries include:
» Saving citations temporarily using the Clipboard
» My NCBI: Save search results (citations), searches (to get automatic updates), search history (search strategies) and more: customize PubMed to meet your needs.

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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.

BIOSIS Previews
The most comprehensive database for life science research. Coverage includes traditional areas of biology, such as botany, zoology and microbiology, as well as related fields such as biomedicine, agriculture, pharmacology and ecology. Interdisciplinary fields such as medicine, biochemistry, biophysics, bioengineering and biotechnology are also included, as well as instrumentation and methods. Includes journal article citations, books and meeting abstracts, papers and posters.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Better searching by taxonomic data, includes meeting abstracts ...
» Guide to BIOSIS previews:  html  |  pdf

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 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 ...
» PsycINFO Quick Guide (PDF)

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
» Sociological Abstracts Fact Sheet

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.
» 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.

Sources of systematic and other reviews include:

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Critically Evaluating What You Find

What is evidence? Things to keep in mind:

Reliability and validity
(Adopted from Chapter 3, Conducting research literature reviews : from the Internet to paper, by Arlene Fink; Sage, 2010.)

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

Critical Appraisal Tools

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Organize Your Citations and Search Strategy

Organizing Your Literature Search/Search Results
Charts like this Literature Review Matrix (.doc) help you organize what you find in your literature search.
(Modified from the matrix presented in Health sciences literature review made easy: the matrix method, J. Garrard; Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2011, available in the Public Health Library, call number R118.6 .G37 2011; Reference Section.)
  » You can adapt RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley to be used with a matrix like this by using notes or custom fields in your database.
  » Take a class to learn how to use these programs, all of which greatly simplify keeping track of citations you find.

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 reproducable. 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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