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Searching: Where to Look

Detailed guide to searching tips and tricks

   WHERE TO START SEARCHING        See Tabs for Details

To search effectively for health information you may need to look in several different places:..not just google!

Health information on line can be varied in its availability, scope, accuracy and currency.

Specialist health websites help you to find reliable information easily - for example.

     NICE Evidence    ( )                                 TRIP                     ( )

     NHS Choices       ( )                     Patient UK            ( )

     PubMED              ( )                   UpToDate             ( ) - RD&E staff :OpenAthens Login required - 

Google  may also be useful for example.

     Google Scholar   ( ) for papers                    Google Verbatim   Exact un-enhanced search. 


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 NICE Evidence    ( )                     This is where the NHS would like its staff to look first

This  provides 'access to selected and authoritative evidence in health, social care and public health'. 

Pro:                Full text often available.   Reliable sources    You can filter the results

Search:          Use simple terms and then filter

Guide:            General Information and user guide

HDAS:             HDAS Journals and Databases  (Athens password  needed)    HDAS Full User Guide

Other:             Links to NICE pathways  ( Nice Guidelines content as browsable flow diagrams )     BNF      CKS    

ScreenShot:   Click to see webpage

TRIP               ( )

This  searches a selection of internet sites

Pro:               Reliable sources    You can filter the results

Search:         Use simple terms and then filter. Advanced search also available  with proximity settings too.

Guide:           General Information and user guide videos

Other:            You can Sign Up  on an NHS computer to get Trip Pro for free under Health Education England's account. 

Screenshot:   Click to see webpage

 NHS Choices    ( )                                                                  This is what the NHS would like its staff to show to patients

This  provides access to reliable patient information presented in a structured and staged format

Pro:                 Reliable sources:   Hundreds of Conditions Explained.   Advice on Healthy Living .

                        Guides and support  for Social Care 

Search:           Use simple terms

Guide:             HelpDesk   

Other:              Look behind the headlines - comment on health news stories. Find Local Services

                         Interactive tools, smartphone apps and podcasts.  Links Library to useful sites

Screenshot:   Click to see webpage

 Patient UK    ( )                     .

This  provides  reliable patient information together with advice for professionals

Pro:                 Health information on common complaints.  Guides to Drug information.

                        Articles written by Health Professionals.   Symptom Checker gives list of possible diagnoses.

                         Doctor-compiled  Clinical Guidelines - including international ones   DVLA & Calculators

Search:           Use simple terms :            

Guide:             General Information 

Other:              See menu at bottom of page for browsing headings 

Screenshot:   Click to see webpage



 Pubmed    (  )                     .

This  searches the MEDLINE database from the National Library of Medicine.

Pro:                 Sophisticated search facility for primary and secondary research  Includes new articles that are not yet catalogued or  published.

                        Automatic term mapping automatically enhances your search terms with Mesh Keywords

                         Options for saving selected results, finding similar articles and exporting to email of reference managing packages

Search:           Use simple terms initially.  

                         Complex search strings can be used.     Filters on top left.      Send to...for clipboard and exporting

Guide:             Quick Start Guide and PubMed Tutorials on the front page

Other:              Explore the front page!

                         Single Citation Matcher finds records if you have an incomplete reference.      eg Smith A  1999 p34

                         Clinical Queries helps you find relevant studies                                                  eg Etiology of diabetic retinopathy in children

                         Topic-Specific Queries shows list of additional search limits                               eg to Nursing Journals only (at bottom of table)

Screenshot:   Click to see webpage

UpToDate ) - RD&E staff only:   Log_in  button- Use Open Athens link

                        or HUB / Non Clinical Systems / UptoDate 

                        Uptodate provides  quick answers to clinical questions at point of care

Pro:                Authoritative fully referenced detailed review articles on wide range of clinical topic

                        Easy to search and navigate

Search:           Use simple terms :            

Guide:            Quick Reference Card        Online help demos and manual  

Other:              Graphics: Images and diagrams free to download to powerpoint

                         Patient information:  'Beyond the basics' for detailed background info for both savvy patients and clinicians.

                         Drug Interactions and Clinical calculators.

Screenshots:   From Quick Reference Card:   Click to see webpage




 Google Scholar )                     .

This  looks for webpages that seem to be papers

Pro:                 Works very similarly to Google. Often gives relevant results with less focussed terms

                        Orders results by relevance or date. 

Search:           Use simple terms:  then expand as in Google:  256 character limit           

Guide:             See file below 

Other:               Advanced search limits by date, title and author.

                         Good follow-on links to related articles, cited-by. 'Cite' gives references for essay text

Screenshot:     Click to go to google scholar

How good is it?  See    King's College  discussion on using Google Scholar for major reviews (Middle Column 4th box down)

    Scholar result

 Google )                     .

Popular search engine

Pro:                 Quick. Easy to use...Versatile. Searches are often enhanced and extended automatically -but not always the way you want!

                        Will accept long search strings and can filter results to domain or document type etc

Guide:             See file below 

Other:             Extended possibilities with other sections eg Maps, Images

                         Focusing searches:  Eg Using

                          "    " with single words to turn off synonyms.           "  " for phrases                * for missing words

                        Site:       to restrict to specific domains          Filetype: to limit to particular file formats

Screenshot:   Looking exclusively for Lymphoma and diagnosis in primary care on NHS sites in  PDF format  (Click to run search)

Use Chrome or Edge but not Internet Explorer

When using any links from our website pages ( or logging on to NHS Open Athens ( to access journals please ensure that Chrome or Edge is selected as your browser of choice.

Internet Explorer will no longer be supported and all publishers have accordingly deprecated access so links will no longer work correctly.publishers have accordingly deprecated access so links will no longer work correctly.