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Public Health Fundamentals: SBS 5001

Information and resources to help public health students started on research materials as well as ways to manage their articles.


Searching for literature involves strategy and some experimentation. This page describes some of the specific databases containing content on medicine, health policy and behavioral health publications along with other related. With the wealth of resources at Temple a researcher can use a variety of interfaces to search the same databases. Do not hesitate to contact a librarian if you would like some assistance.


Literature search prep

  • Plan to use a Citation Manager to store your results. It will save you time when you write your paper!
  • Consider your topic and the various words/terms that are used to describe it.
  • Create a synonyms list.
  • Plan how you will keep track of your strategy, what works and what doesn't.
  • Use the limits, options and features offered in the database you choose.

Database vs. "The Internet"

  • Manage and sort results-filtering choices
  • Info organized consistently
  • "Controlled vocabulary"-terms associated with a concept are given a heading to bring variations together)
  • Transparency of content (what’s indexed, what’s not?)
  • Databases often provide the full-text of articles via Temple’s institutional subscriptions

Databases work in conjunction with citation management software to organize for bibliographies (RefWorks@TU, Mendeley, EndNote)

Which database to use?

  • Identify databases (look at the About section) that cover your topic of interest
  • Choose relevant terms, including synonyms, to use
  • Select subject terms or search by keyword
  • Look at results for
    • Currency (is that important?)
    • Type of article-is it research, editorial, comment, etc
    • Filters/Limits: What else is important to this topic?
      • Age group?
      • Author, specific journal, etc.
      • What options do you have in this database to help you narrow in on your interest?