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Developing Research Skills for Evidence and Enquiry for Practice (HWLS): Using the Databases

What will I learn in this section?

This section is all about how to use the databases. In your assessment brief you are told to choose one database from a selection, according to your particular subject area.

This section provides information on those databases and which subjects they are useful for, along with a range of resources to help you to become confident in using them. There are videos showing you how to use the individual databases, so choose your database first then watch the video on how to use it. 

To understand this information on this page it is important that you have first completed the work in the 'Starting your search' section and also in the learning anytime folder in your module site.

Remember! These skills are transferable across all of the databases, so once you have learned the 'skill' of searching you can apply it to almost any database you need to search.

Medline and CINAHL

Medline and CINAHL

Medline (Ebsco) is a key database for the health subject areas. It covers Nursing, Health and pre-clinical sciences. 

CINAHL (Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is one of the key databases for these subject areas. It covers a broad range of topics related to professional practice, service development and communication.

Both Medline and CINAHL are hosted on the 'Ebsco' platform and as such work exactly the same. The following two videos introduce you to the databases and show you how to use a key feature provided - the database thesaurus. This is the database preferred terms and can be used with your own key words to help you find more research on your particular topic.

Introduction to using Medline - this shows you how to use Medline to construct a search. If you are using CINAHL the process is exactly the same.

Using CINAHL Headings - this video shows you how to use CINAHL headings. If you are using Medline, the thesaurus is called MeSH headings and is found in the same place as CINAHL headings. It is also the same process to use MeSH. 


Maternity & Infant Care

Maternity & Infant Care

The Maternity & Infant Care database is really useful for anyone researching or working in this field. It contains journals, books, and grey literature relating to the midwifery profession, pregnancy, labour, birth, postnatal care, and neonatal care and the first year of an infant's life. This database coverage is from the mid-1980s.

Introduction to Maternity and Infant Care



ASSIA (Applied Social Science Index and Abstracts) is a key database if you are doing research in these areas: health, social services, psychology, criminology, sociology, economics, politics, race relations and education. So if your research topic is related to these, use ASSIA. It's easy to use and the following video gives an overview of some of the features of this particular database:

Introduction to ASSIA

APA PsycInfo

APA PscyInfo

APA PscyInfo is a big psychology database so useful if your topic includes anything related to mental health. It is published by the American Psychological Associations and provides comprehensive indexing and abstracts of the international psychological literature from the 1800s to the present - so it has a wide range of articles! The video shows you how to search it using some of the features of this database.

Introduction to APA PsycInfo

Library Search AND Google Scholar - Not to be used for this assignment!

Just to remind you! Your assignment brief clearly states that you need to find your articles from an academic database, and Google etc. are not this!

From page 3 of the Assessment Brief:

You should conduct your search on a discipline-appropriate electronic database accessed via the A-Z list of databases on the Library Gateway. Suitable databases include: Medline, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Assia and Psychinfo  

N.B The Library Gateway itself is NOT a suitable database, nor is Google Scholar.

Where Can I Get Help?

There is lots more help in the 'introduction to literature searching' folder in your module site. There is a section called 'introduction to literature searching' which has a comprehensive set of resources to help you with starting your search for your papers. You should have completed this by this time. If you haven't, it's important that you revisit this information.

You can get help with quick questions using Library chat, or you can get in touch with the Library through the student portal or Hallam Help points. Here are some useful help links: