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What are you looking for?
So many resources for finding articles! To choose where to start, consider what you are looking for. Do you want to retrieve a specific article, or do you want to find articles about a topic? Do you want to find all the articles about a topic? Do you want to find articles from a particular author, grant, journal, or institution? Or perhaps you already have an article's PDF, and you want to get its citation information into EndNote, RefWorks, or another citation manager? Different databases work best for different tasks. Check out all that we offer, and contact me if you'd like to ask about choosing the right databases and crafting targeted searches for your research question.
Core databases for public health and biomedical literature: PubMed, Global Health, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Articles+
If you can become a PubMed power user, you'll be prepared for life after graduation. PubMed is the most important literature database for public health that you'll be able to keep using for free. It works well out of the box, and it's even better if you learn to use field tags like [ti] and [mh]. Set up an NCBI account to get tailored email alerts and have the Yale Links button on every article page.
Global Health is our specialist database for public health. It's small, around three million records. So why search it? Because more than 40% its citations (for journal articles, reports, books, theses, and conference proceedings) are unique: not available from other databases. It covers chronic diseases, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health systems -- not just global health.
Like PubMed, Embase has millions of citations from biomedical journals, complete with subject indexing. Unlike PubMed, Embase also includes conference abstracts. Embase is especially good for pharmacology because its controlled vocabulary, Emtree, covers drug and chemical terms extensively. If you're doing a comprehensive search, you need to search PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase (at least).
Scopus is the largest citation you can access through Yale. It has publications in the health sciences, but you'll also find information relevant to public health research from social science journals here. Scopus also has interesting features for analyzing result sets, citation trends, and impact metrics for articles, authors, and journals.
Web of Science
Web of Science is the platform; Core Collection is the database you'll usually search here. Use keywords (not subject indexing) and check out the citation analysis tools for good visualizations of the bibliometric characteristics of your results set.
Google Scholar has lots of material, and it's not limited (as many databases are) to searching title/abstract instead of full text. If the Google Scholar relevance ranking algorithm is helping you find what you need, excellent! Still, it has some limitations: it's hard to refine your queries, you can't use Boolean operators, you can't download batches of citations. So, for any comprehensive literature search, you'll want to use other resources. But sometimes you don't need a comprehensive search; for those times, you can set up your Google Scholar settings to include YaleLinks so that you can get full-text easily.
Articles+ from Yale QuickSearch
In Articles+, you can search most of Yale's licensed content. Your results might include e-books and articles from newspapers and encyclopedias, as well as journal articles. The other databases on this list will let you create more precise searches, but Articles+ can be an easy way to explore a new topic.
Africa-Wide Information combines about fifty bibliographic databases with four million records. Because of this broad coverage, you may want to do an advanced search and set the data contributor limit to one or more sources under African Healthline. Your search results will include journal articles but also books, conference proceedings, technical documents, and newspaper articles.
CAB Direct covers applied life sciences includes agriculture, environment, veterinary sciences, applied economics, food science and nutrition. At Yale we access CAB Direct on the CABI platform; we access its sister resource Global Health on the Ovid platform -- use the link in the core database box on the left.
Collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making, and a seventh database that provides information about Cochrane groups.
This global infectious disease knowledge management tool is designed to assist in diagnosing infectious diseases and staying current on the latest trends in epidemiology and treatment. Used for diagnosis and reference in the field of tropical and infectious diseases, epidemiology, microbiology and antimicrobial chemotherapy.
Health and Psychosocial Instruments provides ready access to information on measurement instruments (i.e., questionnaires, interview schedules, checklists, index measures, coding schemes/ manuals, rating scales, projective techniques, vignettes/scenarios, tests) in the health fields, psychosocial sciences, organizational behavior, and library and information science.
LILACS is a comprehensive index of scientific and technical literature of Latin America and the Caribbean focusing on increasing visibility, access and quality of health information in the Region.
National Guideline Clearinghouse
NGC is a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
The Canadian National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools collects systematic reviews evaluating the effectivesness and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions. Because reviews can vary in quality, the NCCMT rates them with critical appraisal tools. GREAT RESOURCE
How do I get full-text?
The Medical Library provides links to full-test electronic holdings via YaleLinks.
Not finding what you need? Request it!
PubMed Special Queries
PubMed offers specialized filters to help you get to relevant results.
You can find structured evidence queries -- that is, pre-formulated PubMed search strategies -- for all the Healthy People 2020 objectives at https://phpartners.org/ph_public/hp2020. These are great starting points for public health research questions. If there's a query for your topic, just click on it! Spend less time crafting a search and more time reading relevant papers.
Which database should you use?
It depends! Here are some factors to consider.
- Are you interested in journal articles, or journal articles + conference papers + research instruments + "grey literature"?
- Is your topic covered in core biomedical journals and databases, or do you want to search the literature of other disciplines -- sociology, allied health, psychology, economics, engineering -- as well?
- Do you want to search with controlled vocabularies and subject headings, with natural language keywords, or both?
- Do you want to use operators for truncation and proximity?
- Do you want to document and save your searches?
- Do you want to download batches of citations into your reference manager?
Depending on the answers to these questions, I can help you choose which literature databases are the best for your research question.