Anatomy and Physiology: Find the evidence

Why search databases?

Tour Down Under [Source: UniSA image library]Library databases are search tools for finding articles, papers, reports, book chapters and more. Search by topic, author, or in a specific publication. Scholarly references are best found in databases.

Databases can be discipline specific (SportDiscus), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus). Many contain full text material, or the reference and abstract only.

 

Search

Some key databases to search:

Before you search analyse your research question. Consider:

  1. The main concepts in your question. You can use these as search terms.
  2. Any synonyms (similar keywords) you could also include in your search.
  3. Any words you need to define.
  4. Plurals or different word endings for any search terms.

Find different word endings or spellings in databases by using:

  • Truncation - for different word endings e.g. exercis* finds exercise, exercising...
  • Wildcards - find different words spellings e.g. ag?ing finds ageing or aging

Combine your keywords, using the connectors OR / AND, when searching.

breast cancer* OR breast neoplasm* OR breast tumo?r*

AND

mass screening* OR screening program*

Quick guides:

Shows how to apply your search in Scopus. [Watch low quality version of video]

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Talking Papers

UniSA’s new ‘Talking Papers’ video series profiles our academics discussing their high-impact research in a manner that is easily understandable by non-discipline experts. The first release includes:

  • Professor Nico Voelcker – Nano algae turn cancer killers
  • Dr Siobhan Banks – Better sleep for shift workers
  • Professor Adrian Esterman – Atrial fibrillation patients kept out of hospital

Journals

Journals are the primary medium for scholarly communication.

They account for a large percentage of university research output and:

  • present current research/debate
  • provide highly focused information
  • contain research findings/opinions of experts
  • contain information not found elsewhere
  • contain information about new research areas
  • may be peer reviewed

[mgsloan, 'Stylized Computer', CC Licence: CC0 1.0 http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library http://www.openclipart.org/detail/3956/stylized-computer-by-mgsloan]

Some anatomy and physiology journals

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Books

[Horia Varlan, 'Hardcover book gutter and pages', CC Licence: CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), Image source: Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4268896468/)]Reference books - includes encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, bibliographies and directories. Consult them to define terms or  find specific information. Search for them using the catalogue, like any other book.

Textbooks - provide instructional material intended for educational purposes. Textbooks are frequently updated as the material can become out of date very quickly.
Scholarly books - written on specific subjects and usually for a specific audience. Scholarly materials are necessary for university-level research in most disciplines.

Magnifying glass [Jan Kromer, ‘Novinky - The News’, 1 November 2006, CC License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en), Image Source: flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jankroemer/285835148/]

Look at the following:

  • Accuracy - arguments supported with independent evidence
  • Audience - is it intended for a general audience or someone familiar with the research in the subject?
  • Authorship - what is the author's qualifications to write on the topic (usually an advanced degree with years of experience and research on the subject)?
  • Content - is it within the scope of your research?
  • Currency - check when the book was published, that it is the latest edition, and that it considers any important recent developments
  • Language - the book contains higher level language and discipline-specific terminology
  • Peer- review - most books are peer reviewed before being accepted, as part of the publishing process, but be careful because there are some publishers who simply publish what they are given, for example they will take a thesis and rebadge it as a book without any editorial intervention
  • Publisher - the book is produced by a reputable publisher (see peer review)
  • References - other materials used in the research process are listed in a bibliography or footnotes

Watch this short Library video for more help:

Find books by searching the Library catalogue.

Quick tips

  • Search for the Title or Author by changing the drop-down menu from All fields
  • Use double quotes for phrases e.g."cardiovascular system"
  • Use the truncation symbol * to find alternative word endings e.g. exercis*
  • Limit to Format by selecting Book

Tour Down Under [Source: UniSA image library]

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Grey literature