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Literature Search

Literature search service overview

The service

Literature searching is a process to locate reliable, appropriate and current evidence on a specific topic.  Qualified information professionals conduct literature searches for NHSGGC staff on public health topics.

The search

A literature search consists of a search of several biomedical databases (such as Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library) and may also include subject gateways, the Internet and/or the holding of other libraries.  The PHRU IM team offer five search types:

  1. Rapid review (24hr turnaround, for outbreak support, media/FOI enquiry etc) - contact the IM team directly
  2. Ad hoc / enquiry answering (1 week turnaround, brief update on specific topic/subject)
  3. Standard (2 weeks turnaround, database(s) search to meet general/generic information needs)
  4. Standard combined (3 weeks turnaround, database(s) and grey literature search to meet general/generic information needs)
  5. Advanced (4-5 weeks turnaround, to inform top level projects)

How to request

To request a literature search complete a literature search request form or to discuss your search requirements contact a member of the IM team.

Search results

Search results are emailed and contain: the databases searched, the terms used, the limits applied, and a list of references (with abstracts if available).  Sourcing full text documents is a separate process and IM staff can assist in this process.


The IM team also offer training on how to literature search and use the Knowledge Network. Contact the IM team if you would like to discuss training.