For help with research, citing or copyright issues, ask Hazel Plante by email or set up a consultation If you need help right away, you can get help (in person, by phone, via instant message) through the Ask A Librarian page. 

Purpose of the literature search

For your project, you need to write your paper in the format of a scientific journal article. This includes an introduction and discussion section. The introduction and discussion require that you do a literature search.

  • For the introduction, you need to find sources that will tell you what is currently known and unknown.
  • For the discussion, you will need to write about how your results fit with the existing knowledge you describe in the introduction. 

Key databases

Connect to PubMed | Connect to Web of Science | Connect to Google Scholar


  • Speak the database’s language (using Boolean operators) & get the right stuff faster!
  • Articles aren’t stand-alone publications; they are part of an interconnected web. You can use Web of Science and Google Scholar to identify who an author is in dialogue with by looking at the paper’s cited references and citing references.
  • Use the Where can I get this? button to search the library’s holdings and locate the full-text article.


Zotero is a free, open source tool that helps you collect, organize, cite and share your research sources. Citations can easily be added by dragging and dropping PDFs of articles into your account, or by using the Zotero Connector in your browser to add sources from the web. 

The Library's software management guide has a section on Zotero, including links to resources to get started, FAQs, help forums, etc.    

Background information & books

Search the Library Catalogue

  • If you aren’t familiar with a term or idea you read about in a research paper, check out an encyclopedia or dictionary to get information at a more basic level!
  • To find background sources, include encyclopedia OR handbook OR dictionary OR manual in your search
  • You can find recommendations at the BPK Research Guide
  • If needed, check out the advanced tips on the Catalogue Search Guide

Clinical trials 

This database includes clinical trials and observational studies that are in-progress. Here, you'll find new research that is still on-going (and therefore not yet published in academic journals) and you can find out about studies that didn't get published.