Finding medical ethics information is not significantly different to finding clinical or scientific information - the principles of selecting appropriate search terms and critically selecting material apply, however there are sources in the areas of philosophy, sociology and psychology that you may wish to consult in addition to traditional medical databases such as MEDLINE. You may also find that news sources help to provide case examples and current opinion.
NLM Bioethics Information Sources
Searches PubMed, Medline Plus and other sources from the National Library of Medicine and the US National Institute of Health for ethical information. Licensing and Resource Information.
Medline Complete via Ebscohost
The Medline database contains much information on bioethics in addition to clinical content, and is an excellent place to begin to search for articles on medical ethics.
Covering nursing and allied health, CINAHL also contains information which addresses ethical issues across health disciplines.
The premier database for psychological information, published by the American Psychological Association. It contains over 3 million records, with journal coverage back to the 1800s. This will be useful for your mental health topics.
Collection of Australian databases, including the Health Collection, indigenous and public affairs information.
Covers life sciences, health, physical sciences and social sciences. Scopus is updated daily and indexes over 15,000 peer-reviewed journals as well as quality web pages, with links to full text. Licensing and Resource Information.
Index to philosophy journal articles and books, book chapters such as contributions to an anthology, and book reviews.
A multidisciplinary collection of journals, including philosophical and sociological titles.
AustLii (Australian Legal Index)
Australian legislation and court decisions.
Provides access to the CaseBase case citator, Halsbury’s Laws of Australia, reported and unreported judgments, and full text journal articles from selected journals and other resources subscribed to by Deakin University.
Provides access to FirstPoint, The Laws of Australia, Online Commentaries, Thomson legal journals, the Alert24 Current Awareness service and Commonwealth & Federal Law Reports.
Sometimes, it can be really difficult to put your finger on a useful search term.
Subject headings (like MeSH in Medline or CINAHL Headings in CINAHL) can be really useful in these instances.
They're a little like #tags in social media, but are consistent - the same term is used across a database for a particular concept.
They are often very specific terms, and they avoid the need to consider synonyms and alternative spellings in your search terms, because they're used consistently to index records across the whole database.
Using MeSH [MEdical Subject Headings] (or equivalent subject heading list) for precise searching
A search on a subject heading will retrieve all records in the database indexed with this term, regardless of the terms used in the article - it can be a much more thorough, yet focused search than a keyword or natural language search. Use the 'search history' to build your search, concept by concept, then combine the terms as relevant.
View this video for tips on searching using MeSH in Medline/ CINAHL headings in CINAHL. Note: in our version, access MeSH by clicking on 'MeSH 2014' in the blue bar at the top of the screen in Medline. In CINAHL, this will be CINAHL Headings, and in psycINFO, it will be the Thesaurus. They all work similarly.
Not sure where to start? Have a browse through some of these selected journals to get a sense of what bioethical articles are like. Use the databases for more targeted searching.
American Journal of Bioethics
Scholarly open commentary addressing bioethical questions. Authors from a variety of disciplines.
Journal for the discussion of bioethical questions in an ethical, legal or policy context, or theoretical examinations.
BMC Medical Ethics
Open access journal which examines the ethics of biomedical research and clinical practice.
Focus on Health Professional Education (Australian)
Official journal of the Australian and New Zealand Health Professional Educators. Multidisciplinary, but topics include professional issues.
Hastings Center Report
Includes ethical, legal, social issues in medicine.
IRB (Published by the Hastings Center)
Journal of Law and Medicine (Australian)
Australian journal, covers the legal aspect of medicine. Includes bioethical content.
Here are some collections of articles on bioethics topics.