1. Purpose and scope
I have created this guide to help you as you work on your research assignments for HSCI 822. Some of this I will talk about during my presentation, and some of this are links to resources that you can explore on your own. I am also very happy to provide research assistance in person, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or over the phone (778.782.4962).
2. Databases to search
Think broadly; It's helpful to consider what fields are spanned by your research question, and therefore what databases may contain useful information for your essay. In addition to the health databases, you may also want to consider searching public policy databases and news databases for other perspectives on your topic. As well, different topics may suggest other fields to search, such as urban studies databases for road traffic, political science databases for trade agreements, criminology databases for illicit activities and communication or computing science databases for information and communication technology.
- Medline: Detailed help on searching Medline in Ovid, including how to use MeSH terms and when to explode terms.
- CINAHL: Search instructions
- Global Health
- SFU Library Databases: Health Policy
- SFU Library Databases: Public Health
Public Policy databases
3 - Finding grey literature
Grey literature will contain research on your topic that's been done by governments, university research centers and think tanks, that may not be commercially published and/or indexed in databases like Medline.
How to search for grey literature
The Canadian Public Policy Collection houses the Canadian Health Research Collection and contains the full text of public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.
Another way of finding grey literature is to try to identify who would be publishing this information. You can use your expertise and experience in the field to think of relevant local and non-local agencies. You can also use the Canadian Public Policy Collection as a starting point to see what agencies are publishing on your topic. Once you have an agency in mind, you can go to the agency's site, and search through their publications to see if there are other relevant reports.
Google's site limits can be very helpful to find grey literature. Add the domain of the government or institution whose sites you want to search to your Google search. For more advanced searching techniques, check out "Get More Out of Google."
Google Scholar can be another useful source for finding grey literature. Be sure to access Google Scholar via the Library's website to ensure you see the "Where can I get this?" links that will take you to full text SFU offers. Just go to Journal articles and databases on the Library's homepage, then use the Google Scholar box you find there.
4 - RefWorks
RefWorks is a type of document citation management software which allows you to create a personal library of references you find, and then easily create bibliographies for your papers. You can log in or sign up for RefWorks under "My Library" on the SFU Library homepage. To learn more about RefWorks, use the tutorial, come to one of the Library's drop-in workshops, or consult the SFU RefWorks Quick Guide for a refresher. You can also contact SFU RefWorks Help or any reference librarian for assistance.