For many undergraduate medical students, the first introduction to research is performing a literature search on behalf of a research team. Database searching is a common element in the research experience for both medical students and residents.
What can I expect during a research consultation?
When you become involved in a research project, it is advisable to arrange for a consultation so that we can review your search strategy. Your first research consultation will last approximately 45 minutes. Consultations are a learning partnership, with the student taking the lead on developing the search strategy while I provide guidance and feedback on how to refine the search.
How can I prepare for my consultation?
The checklist below will help you prepare for your consult. The Library has created a series of short tutorials that cover the basics of database search skills. Please view the tutorials before your appointment, attempt your search, and save your search strategy by creating an individual account. If you have articles on your topic, bring those our the first meeting.
Author Identity (ORCID) :
ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.
Send your research question or research protocol
Send full citations for 2-3 articles relevant to your research [if available]
Harris, M.R. (2005). The librarian's roles in the the systematic review process: A case study. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 93 (1), 81-87. [Example]
View HSL's database tutorials
Select one based on your topic:
Create a personal account in Ovid Medline
Translate your research question into a searchable search strategy
|Patient, Population, or Problem||
How would I describe a group of patients similar to mine?
|Intervention, Prognostic Factor, or Exposure||
Which main intervention, prognostic factor, or exposure am I considering?
|Comparison or Intervention (if appropriate)||
What is the main alternative to compare with the intervention?
|Outcome you would like to measure or achieve||
What can I hope to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?
PICO can help you translate your clinical question into searchable concepts.
What is the optimal corticosteroid treatment regime for steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome in children ?
P: child, steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome
C: randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
There are 4 concepts in this research question: steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome; corticosteroid; child; RCTs. The preliminary search (below) used MeSH terms and keywords. There are so few trials on the topic that you can browse the results after searching steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome and applying limits for Age (Child) and Publication Type (RCTs).