Laboratory Medicine: Find the evidence

Journal articles and papers

Facts and Myths [Source: purchased from Dollar photo club,]Library databases are search tools (large indexes) that help you find evidence based literature in journal articles, conference papers, reports, book chapters and more. They can be discipline specific (such as Medline), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus).

Scholarly references are best found in databases.

Some key databases include:

  1. &lsquo, 3D Character and Question Mark, 18 July 2008, CC License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0[(], Image Source: flickr,[] Don't know much about the topic area? Do some background reading, for example look in your textbook(s), or a try a relevant book.
  2. Look at the terms used in any key articles found. For example, look at the abstract, subject headings or author supplied keywords. Can you use these terms to further revise your search?
  3. Look at the reference list of any key articles found, these may be relevant.
  4. If you cannot find what you need in one database, try another one.
  5. Change your search. You may need to re-work it by adding another concept to focus it further, or removing a concept to broaden it. Are there any synonyms (similar keywords) you need to add?
  6. Searching for evidence takes time and practice. You may need to revise your search several times before you find what you need.

How to save time searching databases with truncation, wildcards and phrases


How to search databases

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

Shows how to apply your search to Academic Search Premier (via EbscoHost) and Scopus. [Watch low quality version of video]



[mgsloan, 'Stylized Computer', CC Licence: CC0 1.0, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library]Journals are the primary medium for scholarly communication. They account for a large percentage of university research output and publish issues on a regular basis (e.g. monthly, quarterly). They:

  • provide highly focused information
  • can be the best source of the latest material on a topic
  • sometimes be one of the few (or only) sources of scholarly information on a topic

UniSA Library provides online access to hundreds of journals relating to laboratory medicine.

Remember to evaluate! Just as with books, there are different types of of journals. Not all journals are suitable for your assignments.



Books can provide:[Horia Varlan, 'Hardcover book gutter and pages', CC Licence: CC BY 2.0 (, Image source: Flickr (]

  • definitions
  • topic overviews
  • step-by-step guides
  • in-depth information on a topic

...and much more comprehensive coverage of a topic than a webpage. Many books in the Library's collection are written or edited by people with expertise in the relevant field.

Types of books

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.

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. "laboratory medicine"
  • Use the truncation symbol * to find alternative word endings e.g. immunolog*
  • Limit to Format by selecting Book

Web resources


Grey Literature

Link to Grey Literature <image, public domain>

Find sources of unpublished & non-traditional scholarly materials: 'Grey literature'