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Why use Journals and Databases? - the resources on this reading list will help you to understand and conduct research in Health Care.

It is important to scan key journals in your subject area to keep up to date. It's really important in the Healthcare field to find good quality, up to date literature and evidence! This is a useful reading list for getting started on research in Healthcare:

To search the literature in a comprehensive and structured way, you should use the databases that are relevant to your subject. The links to the most relevant databases for health research are in the Journal Databases tab.

To move to the relevant sections, click on the links on the left hand side of this page (in blue) which will take you to that section.

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Getting started with databases: quick video guides

The three minute videos below introduce you to some of the key databases for your subject areas.

Key Health Journal Databases for Allied Health Professions

The journals databases on this page index thousands of journal articles and may also link to the article full text. The descriptions below each database detail the coverage of that database. It is a good idea to read these to see if that particular database is of use to your research.

Multidisciplinary Journals Databases with Allied Health Content

These databases index thousands of journal articles and may also link to the full text. They are large databases covering many topics including health research and information.

Management and Market Research Databases

The Management databases have content which includes managing in the Health sector, useful if you are looking at topics around staff development and management within and of the Health Service. More management databases can be found on the Management subject guides:

The market research databases will be useful to anyone studying Dietetics, for your product development assessments. More databases covering this content can be found on the Food and Nutrition subject guide:

Professional Bodies' Journals and Databases

Developing Your Research Skills

SearchStart is a good introduction to how to search but for students on Health and Social Care courses you need to have more in-depth skills. The resources in this section focus specifically on the skills you need to search for evidence comprehensively and effectively.

These skills are transferable across all the databases you will need to use. Remember, you should search across a range of databases relevant to your research topic, to ensure you are capturing all of the available evidence and literature.

The videos in this section will help you to develop the skills you need in finding and evaluating your evidence.

  • Section 1 takes you through the process, from identifying your keywords, to applying the techniques you need to use to a database search.
  • Section 2 looks at evaluating what you find.
  • Section 3 identifies two techniques you may find helpful in unpicking your topic to form your search strategy.
  • Section 4 is to help you if you are asked to produce a PRISMA flow diagram to evidence your research strategy (NB: you may not need to do this - always check your module document)

Planning your Research Strategy Workbook!

To compliment these resources, you can use our handy workbook to help you work through constructing your research strategy. You can find it herePlanning Your Research Strategy

Section 1: The Process

These really short videos talk you through the process of constructing a literature search. Beginning with the theory of why you need to use good quality academic resources and the process of searching for literature and evidence, they move through identifying key concepts - which form the basis of your key words and phrases - and onto the resources you need to use to find literature and evidence to support your work.

The Theory

Why you need to use authoritative resources:

The search cycle:

Identifying Concepts 

Keywords – mental health:

The Resources

Introduction to journal articles:

Accessing the databases:

Section 2: Evaluating the Evidence

Once you have found your evidence to support your literature review, you will need to evaluate what you have found. Here are some useful resources to help you do that:

Short video giving you hints and tips about how to evaluate the information and resources you find.

Quick video on deciding whether your results are good enough to use.

Section 3: Searching With PICO/SPIDER

There are methodologies you can use to help you identify your research articles. The ones you use depend on the type of research you are looking for. The below articles outline how to use two of the most popular research methodologies for Health research - PICO and SPIDER. You may be asked to use them to evidence your research strategy.

PICO Search Strategy - Population, Intervention, Comparator/Comparison, Outcome. Used for finding quantitative research articles. 

How to use a PICO search - Cochrane PICO search strategy

Searching for proof: Creating and using an actionable PICO question - Article on how to use the PICO strategy to identify key research.

Getting started with your PICO search - Cochrane flipbook on searching with your PICO strategy


SPIDER Search Strategy - Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type - Used for finding qualitative or mixed-method research articles.

Section 4: PRISMA Flow Diagram

You may be asked to create a PRISMA flow diagram to show where you have found your evidence (most likely only for your final research project). These links guide you through creating your PRISMA Flow Diagram: