Literature Searching

Plan Your Search

As you begin, your search should consider:

  • Your research topic/question.

  • Break down your topic into key concepts or categories to formulate a clear clinical question.The PICO process will help enable you to do this.


The clinical question needs to identify:

Patient or population we intend to study

Intervention or treatment we plan to use

Comparison of one intervention to another

Outcome we anticipate

​For further information on PICO please click here.

Search Strategy Checklist

Once you have your research question you can  create a range of search terms:

  • Synonyms, e.g.. aged; elderly

  • Acronyms, e.g. UTI

  • Differences in terminology across national boundaries, e.g. pediatrics/paediatrics.

  • Differences in spelling

  • Old/New terminology

  • Brand & generic names 

  • Law & medical terminology

Also consider any limitations in your search:

  • Study type

  • Age range

  • Publication date

  • language...etc.

Search the Databases

Key healthcare databases (HDAS) can be accessed with your OpenAthens login.

Other core resources include:

You can use a grey literature database such as Open Grey or BASE.

Literature Searching Online e-Learning Modules

These free online modules are designed to help the healthcare workforce (clinical and non-clinical) build confidence to search published literature for articles and evidence relevant to their work, study and research. The modules are short (each taking no more than 20 minutes to complete) and may be ‘dipped into’ for reference, or completed to obtain a certificate.

Please note that you will need to register on the e-LfH website if you wish to record your activity. 

There are seven modules suitable for novice searchers and those wishing to refresh their knowledge:

Applying the skills

HEE Literature Searching Guided Video

Opening Hours 

Monday 9am-5pm

Tuesday 9am-5pm

Wednesday 9am-5pm

Thursday 9am-5pm

Friday 9am-5pm

Closed Sat, Sun & Bank Holidays

Get in Touch






Education Centre Library

Education Centre

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust




S44 5BL

  • Wix Facebook page
  • Wix Twitter page
  • Instagram Social Icon

© All content 2020 Education Centre Library Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust