Home | UC Berkeley Library Web | UC Berkeley

Search this site:   Help

Library Research and Literature Searching for Public Health 292: Health & Social Behavior Seminar

Instructor: Dr. Darlene Francis         Presented by Michael Sholinbeck

URL for this web page: www.lib.berkeley.edu/PUBL/SPH/PH292_F13.html

Contents:


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

Sheldon Margen Public Health Library home page
  Hours:
    Mon.-Thurs. 9-8   |   Fri. 9-5   |   Sat.-Sun. 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 24/7 chat reference and email reference.

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


Starting the Library Research Process

What causes disease?
For any "disease" or condition, you could start by considering interactions among environmental and social factors.

  Poor diet, resulting from food choices, "causes" nutritional deficiency or obesity in a population.

But consider:
  » Is it "caused" historical distribution of land use, including (in developing countries) during colonial times?
  » Or by the regulatory environment, including crop subsidies, food inspections, etc.?
  » What about the role of NGOs, IGOs, aid networks?
  » What about infrastructure, such as food distribution networks, transportation, etc.?
  » What about the healthcare and health insurance system?
  » Is the status of women/girls a factor?
  » What is the role of commercial activity (eg, advertising)?

Is your topic researchable?
  » "Harmful fetal effects of beer consumption by pregnant students at college athletic events"
  » "Determinants of binge drinking among female college students in the United States"
  » "Alcohol consumption by young adults"

Let's talk about indexing!
  » Do you want articles on labor or articles on labor? Or is it labour?
  » Do you want articles on HIV (a virus) or articles on HIV diseases (such as AIDS)?
  » Do you know the difference between diet, food, nutrition, eating, ...?
  » Is epidemiology a concept relating to the causes and distribution of diseases, or is it what epidemiologist do?

Indexing means a controlled vocabulary is used to assign subject terms to articles.
A controlled vocabulary means the list of terms is finite and each term has a definition.
These subject terms may also be called thesaurus terms, descriptors, or (in PubMed) Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).

Back to Top of Page          


PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 23 million journal articles and books, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks


PubMed searching top tips:
  1. Combine terms with AND or OR
  2. Use Filters (eg, Ages, Article types, Languages, etc.)
  3. Search for your term as a word in the title or title or abstract (using Filters, Advanced Search, or Field Tags)
  4. Use truncation (with a *)
  5. Use MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), with subheadings
  6. Use the Related Articles link, once you find a set of relevant citations
  7. 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?)

» Combining searches using History: Searches can be combined or used in subsequent searches using Advanced search History.

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

» Use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
» Clinical Queries: Finding systematic reviews on your topic can help you find more research literature and give you a sense of the body of knowledge on a topic.
   Using the etiology filter is useful a "cause of disease" search.
   Note that therapy encompasses any type of intervention.

» Topic-Specific Queries use "canned" search strategies to fetch a citation subset of PubMed. Relevant topic-specific queries include:
» Saving citations temporarily using the Clipboard

» My NCBI: Saving search results, searches, and more: customize PubMed to meet your needs.

Back to Top of Page          


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

Limiting yourself to searching only one database (eg, PubMed) may be dangerous (PDF) if your goal is to discover all the significant literature on your topic.

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

Agricola
Subjects include all aspects of agriculture: agricultural economics, nutrition, hunger, food production, agricultural chemicals, etc.
» Agricola does not use a controlled vocabulary. Use the subject descriptor index to find terms, or focus your search by using title words.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Nutritionally induced diseases, WIC program, women in rural development ...

Embase
Broad biomedical scope with strong coverage in European literature, and in pharmaceutical and toxicological research, including economic evaluations. Useful for clinical medicine, genetics, infectious diseases, healthcare policy & management, and more.
» Embase does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Emtree above the search box to search or browse for terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    More non-US literature, better coverage of drug/toxicology topics, sophisticated indexing scheme ("Emtree"') ...

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.
» Global Health does use a controlled vocabulary. Use the drop-down menu and select Descriptors then click to browse the thesaurus.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Search by (relatively narrow) geographic locations (ie, setting), or country in which work published.
» Global Health Database Exercise (PDF; from the Public Health Library)
» Global Health Help

Google Scholar
Citations in all topics.
» Google Scholar does not use a controlled vocabulary. Use Advanced Search by clicking on the ▼ in the search box, then search for title words.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Broad topical scope. But be aware that Google Scholar lacks:
    » the ability to use iteration in developing search strategies,
    » any indexing,
    » bulk downloading or saving of records,
    » a complete description of its contents.

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
Citations from an international selection of publications in economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Records come from more than 100 countries and languages.
» IBSS does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Thesaurus to search or browse terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Gender roles, non-directive interviews, shanty towns, exploitation...

PsycINFO
Citations in psychology, behavior, and related disciplines; includes citations of journal articles, conference proceedings, books and book chapters, reports and dissertations.
» PsycINFO does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Thesaurus to search or browse terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Economic security, community attitudes, socioeconomic class attitudes, labeling, test/measurement index ...
» PsycINFO Quick Guide (PDF)

Social Work Abstracts
Citations on topics such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, community organization, and more.
» Social Work Abstracts does not use a controlled vocabulary. Use the subject term index to find terms: click Indexes and choose Subjects to browse for terms, or use title words.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Age bias, family functioning, resiliency, ...
» Social Work Abstracts Help

Sociological Abstracts
Citations in demography, education, law, social psychology, and sociology. Sources include journals, books, conferences and meetings, and dissertations.
» Sociological Abstracts does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Thesaurus to search or browse terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Cultural capital, peer relations, victimization, family structure, strategies, neighborhoods, social constructionism, ...
» Sociological Abstracts Exercise (PDF; from the Public Health Library)
» Sociological Abstracts Guide

Web of Science
Large, multidisciplinary database; links to cited articles and times cited are provided for retrieved articles.
» Web of Science does not use a controlled vocabulary; it uses author keywords and keywords assigned algorithmically.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Scope of database is broad; best resource for cited reference searching.
» Cited Reference Searching exercise (PDF; from the Public Health Library)

OskiCat: Catalog of UCB. Use the library catalog to find books, reports, etc. on your topic. Books often provide overviews of topics, both narrow and broad.
» OskiCat Help

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.

Back to Top of Page          


Critically Evaluating What You Find

"History of science teaches us that scientific endeavor has often in the past wasted effort in fields with absolutely no yield of true scientific information."
    (Ioannidis, 2005; see handout (.docx))

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

Reliability and validity
Adopted from Chapter 3, Conducting research literature reviews: from the Internet to paper, by Arlene Fink; Sage, 2010.
Reliable data collection: relatively free from "measurement error."
  » Is the survey written at a reading level too high for the people completing it?
Validity refers to how well a measure assesses what it claims to measure
  » If the survey is supposed to measure "quality of life," how is that concept defined?

Critical Appraisal of Intervention Studies is a free (requires registration) online learning module from Canada's National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools.
It demonstrates how to assess the quality of an intervention study and how to develop skill in applying critical appraisal to enable you to determine whether that intervention can be applied to your own public health situation.
  » Here is a summary table of basic considerations for critical appraisal of intervention studies

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (UK) has a nice set of brief PDF checklist documents on critically evaluating different types of studies (eg, cohort studies, case-control studies, qualitative studies, etc.).


Citing and Keeping Track of Citations

Literature Review Matrix (.doc):
This chart may help you organize what you find in your literature search.
This is a simplified version of 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 (and other UCB libraries), call number R118.6 .G37 2011.

EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, and other bibliographic management programs will:
    - Let you create a database of citations you find;
    - Let you organize your citation database by criteria of your choosing;
    - Link to PDF files, or store PDF files in your database;
    - Work with Word to correctly cite citations into your document.
Information on a substantial student discount for EndNote is available from the Cal Student Store.
RefWorks is licensed by the UCB Library and is free to use while you are here.
Zotero and Mendeley are free.

Back to Top of Page          

Home UC Berkeley Library Web UC Berkeley Contact Us