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Health Postgraduate Advanced Library Modules : Module 2: Expanding the search

Module 02: Expanding the search 





It is important for Mei to conduct a wide search across other databases, she can also search across the web using Google. 

In this module we will cover some other resources that she can use to help with her research. 

A comprehensive search usually needs to include Medline and 2 –3 additional databases relevant to the topic.





Other EBSCOhost databases

Mei should choose the most relevant databases to her topic.  


PsycINFO Main psychology database developed by the American Psychological Association.
CINAHL Complete Main nursing database that also covers allied health (nutrition etc.) information.
Global Health  A large public health database that covers international health as well nutrition and biomedical literature. 
SportDiscus with Full Text Comprehensive sport and sports medicine database. 
Health Policy Reference Centre  International and U.S. coverage of all aspects of health policy. 
SocINDEX with Full Text Comprehensive sociology research database that covers marriage & family, social psychology, substance abuse, social work, urban and political sociology. 






Mei’s topic of Physical activity interventions (including Policies/frameworks) for obese young women may require her to search all of them as they cover different aspects – behavior, social environment, other health issues etc. 

She can search these databases in the same way as Medline Complete, for other EBSCOhost databases she just needs to find the relevant subject headings instead of MeSH. 

She will need to search each of the selected databases separately. 



Video: Global Health database

Click the play button to watch the video below, explaining the Global Health database. This database uses the Thesaurus tool instead of MeSH. (2:18)



There are also other databases that may be relevant have a look through the EBSCOhost list. You may also want to check out the resources guides.


Course presentation

Work your way through the ‘How to change tab between EBSCO databases’ course presentation below.






Embase compliments Medline, so Mei decides to search this too. Embase is particularly good for any pharmaceutical information. 


Video: Searching Embase database

Click the play button to watch the video below, on Searching Embase database (8:50).




Work your way through the ‘Searching Embase Systematically’ activity below.






Mei has been asked to include Australian content. Although the other databases cover some of this, the Informit health collection is Australian focused. 

Informit publishes many databases across different subject / population areas e.g. Health, Indigenous peoples, Social Sciences etc. It is especially good for Australian information. 

Within the Health subject area there are databases covering sport, rural areas, medicine, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, health & society. 

Informit does not have the same search functionality as the other databases.



Video: Searching using Informit 

Click the play button to watch the video below, on searching using Informit (7:21)




Work your way through the ‘Searching using Informit’ activity below.









Once Mei has found some good articles on her topic, she can expand her search further by searching for citing articles in Scopus. Each record in Scopus includes all the articles referenced as well as articles that have cited this article. 





Video: How use Scopus

Click the play button to watch the video below, on how use Scopus (8:58).





Work your way through the ‘How use Scopus’ activity below.




Complex searching in Google





You can do a complex single line search in Google using brackets (…) to keep your concepts together and the word OR between your similar words. You can type up to 32 words (excluding OR) and limit to a site or domain.

Mei has used the following search string to find government documents for her project. 



(“physical activity” OR exercise) (intervention OR program OR policy OR policies OR guideline OR framework) (obesity OR obese OR “high bmi” OR “high body mass index”) (“young women” OR “young woman” OR “young female”)  

Screen capture of google search with Mei's terms






When searching Google, you can use double quote marks to keep
the phrases together but cannot use truncation or proximity searching.

Image: light bulb in silhouette of head



Work your way through the ‘Complex searching in Google’ activity below.




Wrap up




Mei has completed all the modules and is now confident in her ability to systematically search the databases. She can prepare, run, review / revise, access and appraise the search results as well as the search strategies. She has selected the most appropriate databases for her topic and successfully exported the results into EndNote. Mei has searched Google for government documents and manually entered these into EndNote. 

As a final test of your understanding, of all the skills you’ve learnt throughout the modules, please complete the survey below. Completion of the survey will provide feedback about the modules and a summary of responses can be saved / printed as proof of completion and emailed to your lecturer / supervisor if required.


Masters Health Expanding the Search survey