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Library Resources for Public Health 293: MCH Journal Club, Fall 2012

Instructor: Dr. Sylvia Guendelman

Presented by Michael Sholinbeck

URL for this web page: www.lib.berkeley.edu/PUBL/SPH/PH293JC_F12.html


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

Sheldon Margen Public Health Library home page
    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 IM chat (24/7) 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?
You might start by considering the interaction and interdependence of environmental factors (pollution, disasters, outbreaks) and social factors (smoking, obesity, drug use).
  » Exacerbation of asthma in West Oakland "caused" by air pollution and/or smoking
But consider:
  » Is it "caused" by inadequate regulation of transportation, energy production, and tobacco?
  » Or by historical racism in housing and neighborhood characteristics?
  » Are genetic factors relevant?
  » What about health insurance disparities which affect access to appropriate prescription drugs?
  » Is lack of appropriate child care services for working women a factor?

Is your topic researchable?
  » "The harmful effects of domestic beer consumption among students at Cal's Big Game"
  » "Binge drinking among college students in the United States"
  » "Alcohol consumption by young adults"

Using PICO to help with your search
(Modified from https://sph.uth.tmc.edu/charting/handouts/ebph_handouts/ebph_workshop.htm)
PICO is a taxonomy used in Evidence-Based Medicine. For Public Health questions, PICO stands for:

Example: A group of children come down with measles. The parents of these kids are concerned about the potential health risks of vaccinations and have decided not to vaccinate any of their kids. You need to develop an intervention that increases the likelihood that this group will vaccinate their kids.

  • Population: children with measles
  • Intervention/exposure: program to increase vaccinations
  • Comparison: group not exposed to intervention
  • Outcome: Does the exposed group have an increased rate of vaccinations compared to the non-exposed group? Is there a decreased rate of measles among the children of parents exposed to the intervention?

Translate this into a PubMed search strategy (more on PubMed below)
One possibility is: Measles/prevention and control AND Measles Vaccine/therapeutic use AND Children AND Health promotion

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?
Index means a controlled vocabulary is used to assign subject terms to articles.
Subject terms may also be called thesaurus terms, descriptors, or (in PubMed) Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).

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PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 22 million journal articles and books, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks

PubMed top tips for better searching:

  1. Combine terms with AND or OR
  2. Use Filter (formerly called Limits) (eg, 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. 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 (PDF; from the Public Health Library)

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

» 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.
   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.

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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.

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

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 (PDF)

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)

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

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

Women's Studies International
References to books, articles, reports, anthology chapters, and non-print materials in sociology, history, political science & economy, public policy, international relations, arts & humanities, business and education.
» Women's Studies International does not use a controlled vocabulary. Use the subject term index to find terms: click Indexes and choose Subject Terms to browse for terms, or use title words.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Pro-life activists, virginity, rape victims, sexism ...

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 resources for cited reference searching.
» Cited Reference Searching exercise (PDF; from the Public Health Library)
» 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.

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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.
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 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.).
  » This web page also includes a nice summary of "critical reading."

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

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, call number R118.6 .G37 2011 (Reference Section)

EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, and other such tools can help you keep track of citations you find. In addition, these software will let you link to PDF files, or store PDF files in your database, as well as workling with Word to correctly cite citations. Information on a substantial student discount for EndNote is available from the Cal Student Store. Call 642-9000 ext. 697. RefWorks is licensed by the UCB Library and is free to use while you are here. Zotero and Mendeley are free.

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A Closing Thought

"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 (.doc))

"The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same colour. He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governorís gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate."
    (Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1726-1727)

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