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Library Resources for Public Health 293: 1st Year DrPH Seminar, Fall 2014

Instructor: Dr. Herd

Presented by Michael Sholinbeck

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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.)

The Research Process

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, eg, 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 tobacco? Or by historical racism in housing and neighborhood characteristics? What about genetic factors? What about access to appropriate prescription drugs?

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

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?
  » If I measure something today, then measure it again tomorrow using the same scale, will it vary? Why?
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? Is it measurable?
Extensive discussions of reliability and validity are available in several texts, such as Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology (3rd Ed.; M. Tsuang et al. Wiley. 2011; See chapters 5 and 7).

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
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 to develop skill in applying the criteria for critical appraisal of an intervention study 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) links to a set of brief PDF checklist documents on critically evaluating different types of studies (eg, systematic reviews, cohort studies, RCTs, qualitative studies, etc.).

Organizing Your Literature Search/Search Results
Charts like this Literature Review Matrix (.doc) 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)
  » You can adapt Zotero, RefWorks, EndNote, or Mendeley to be used with a matrix like this by using notes or custom fields in your database.
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:

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PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 21 million journal articles and books/book chapters, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks
» But keep in mind that limiting yourself to searching only one database may be dangerous.

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 (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: You may especially be interested in finding systematics reviews on your topic. Also consider that etiology may be used for a "cause of disease" search, and 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.

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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"? Many 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. The database covers content summaries, 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

Communication Abstracts
Articles, reports, papers and books covering communication literature in subjects such as health communication, mass media, journalism, advertising, marketing, public opinion, interpersonal communication and organizational communication.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Strategic communication, social advocacy, social aspects of ideology ...

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)

Social Work Abstracts
Citations on topics such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, community organization, and more.
» 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.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Cultural capital, peer relations, victimization, family structure, strategies, neighborhoods, social constructionism, ...
» Sociological Abstracts Exercise
» Sociological Abstracts Fact Sheet

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.
» 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.
» 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.

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Finding Previous Students' Dissertations

You may be interested in looking at previous students' dissertations, DrPH and others.

To find SPH dissertations in the library using OskiCat or Melvyl, use the instructions here. DrPH dissertations are easily located using OskiCat by entering "Thesis (Doctor of Public Health)" as a Keyword(s) search. Important: Use the quotation marks.

To find SPH dissertations online, use the Dissertations and Theses @ University of California database on our Dissertations and Theses web page. Enter the term Dr.P.H. in the search box, changing the drop down menu to Degree. Important: Use the period dots. Limit to UCB DrPH dissertations by adding the word berkeley as a School name/code search.

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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)

"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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