Medical Sonography: Find the evidence


Databases are search tools (large indexes) that help you find evidence based literature. They can be discipline specific (such as Medline), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus).

They allow you to:

  • find scholarly content including original research
  • effectively focus your search using sophisticated search options
  • access information not freely available through search engines

Databases either provide the full text to articles, or the reference and abstract only. Some contain a mixture of both.

Identifying relevant databases to search depending on what you need to find, and searching them effectively is a important skill you need to develop.

Primary and secondary resources in health guide:

Primary databases allow you to find articles or papers with original research.

Secondary databases has information that has been interpreted, assessed or appraised, using certain rules or set criteria by the authors e.g. review articles, systematic reviews and meta-analysis articles.

[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, bi-monthly, quarterly etc.). 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 medical sonography.

Some journals of interest:



  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.
    • Do a quick search in a library database. Can you find a relevant article?
  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.

Google Scholar search tips

Grey Literature

More search help

Evidence-Based Practice [CC0 Public Domain, Image source: Flickr]