Research Literature - using the evidence base to support graduate studies

The Library & Learning Centre (LLC) gathers all the key links to research literature in medicine and health on their website here.

There are several key tools which you will find particularly helpful in gathering information for assessments or for research-based dissertations.

  • Library SearchThis is a basic search tool which retrieves only the material which the Library & Learning Centre provides in either electronic or print format - books and journals. It’s useful for searches for resources which you can access quickly and easily, but it is not an ‘exhaustive’ search tool in that it does not look across the whole range of published journals or books. Access to full-text is available where the LLC has a subscription to that title.
  • Medline: Medline is a more exhaustive tool in that it covers all the significant journals in the field of Medicine, including many with full-text access. Medline allows you to search more systematically and uses a number of tools to aid retrieval – Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), for instance. Some students prefer to use PubMed, which contains the same data, although the search tool is less user-friendly and intuitive than Medline, and full-text links are sometimes less easy to access. Companion database to Medline is CINAHL (the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature).
  • SCOPUSSCOPUS is similar to Medline in its operation in that it enables the user to conduct a systematic search of journal-based literature. It contains the whole of Medline plus many other in scientific areas outside of medicine – life sciences, biochemistry, materials science, engineering, physics and more. This makes it very useful for students looking across disciplines. It does provide support for MeSH-type searches but in a more limited way than Medline.
  • Web of ScienceWeb of Science is a multi-disciplinary database listing journal articles and research documents in the field of science, and indexes a broad range of conference papers, which other databases listed above do not. It has the added advantage of being a citation index, thus allowing the development of literature in a particular subject area to be traced by following citations of original articles.
  • TRIP (Turning Research Into Practice)TRIP is a simple tool to help access clinical guidelines and protocols from UK and worldwide organisations such as SIGN and NICE. It also searches across clinical trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews from the Cochrane collaboration.

Access to all the above and other search tools is available on- or off-campus. Off-campus users will be asked for their University username & password before they can access electronic content or search tools.

In addition to University-based resources, the NHS in Scotland provides access to the Knowledge Network which offers a large range of full-text journals in addition to those provided by the Library & Learning Centre. It also provides a range of database search tools including Medline and CINAHL, and also Embase, which covers a similar range of content to Medline but also features articles on drug interactions and pharmacology.

All staff and students who work for or alongside the NHS are entitled to join the NHS Knowledge Network. In order to access resources via the Knowledge Network you will need to set up an account from their website. You should receive notification of your account details and your Athens username & password within 72 hours of submitting your application. Note that this Athens account is for NHS resources only and cannot be used to access University of Dundee resources.

For support or training on any of the above please email – we will be delighted to assist you devise or execute your systematic literature search, or offer any other advice you may require. Sessions on systematic literature searching for whole classes can also be organised on request.