Blog Archives

Plan: your search strategy

Once you’ve decided on what information you need, and the search tool you’re going to use, then you need to think about the way in which you’re going to search. There are some basic points to keep in mind when you are planning a search strategy regardless of what kind of search tool you are using. You will find that the more successful searches you do, the better your skills will become – like all activities, searching for information improves with practice.

1. Identify key terms and authors

Once you have chosen your search tool(s), you need to think about keywords for your given subject. If this was your topic:

‘What are the material properties of solid oxide fuel cells?’

You would need to break it down into separate keywords / subjects

  • material
  • properties
  • solid oxide fuel cells

You may also find it useful to do some preliminary reading in textbooks and encyclopaedias which will help you identify some keywords, and perhaps also key authors.

2. Boolean searching

Use search or Boolean operators to combine your terms:

  • AND

Example
bioactive and materials
Items containing BOTH words will now be searched for. Using ‘and’ will usually result in fewer but more relevant hits.

  • OR

Example
railway or train
Items containing EITHER word will now be searched for

  • Use parentheses to execute part of the search separately. This is used when you use the search operator OR.

Example
corrosion and (iron or steel)
Using brackets helps structure your search by breaking it down into sections. The following will now be searched for:
corrosion and iron
corrosion 
and steel
corrosion and iron and steel

  • Put quotation marks around a group of words to search for a phrase

Example
thermal barrier coatings

  • The term NOT’ is a stop word

Example
nanotubes not carbon
Any items referring to carbon nanotubes will not be retrieved.

Using truncation and wildcards

The easiest way to search for words that look similar is to use truncation, or a wildcard. The symbols will vary according to the database you are using (use the help page to find out what is the required symbol), but the principles are always the same.
By using the following symbols at the end of a word you can retrieve variant endings of a word.
US
* - UK

Example
Contamina
will retrieve references containing the words:
contaminate, contaminates, contamination, contaminants, contaminated

  • Use a wildcard to replace a letter in the middle of a word,

Example
m?n
will retrieve references containing the words men or man.
Example
t?res
The terms tires (US spelling) or tyres (UK spelling) will now be searched for

3. Field restriction

Most databases allow you to search specific fields only. For instance, if you know that Ian Lean has written a useful paper on your subject, you may want to search for Lean and limit your search to the author field. Similarly, if you have retrieved far too many papers on your chosen topics, you may want to limit your search to title only.

4. Range limits

Some databases allow you to apply limits such as language, date of publication, and publication type. Again, if you have retrieved too many references, you may want to limit your search to a shorter date range, or to only retrieve review articles.

5. Example search

If you are interested in finding information about testing laminated composite plates for strength:

  • identify the key terms (and authors)
    • testing
    • laminated composite plates
    • strength
  • think of alternative words or phrases for your key terms
    • evaluating
    • composite laminated plates
    • reliability / stiffness
  • combine your terms using truncation and parentheses where required

(test* or evaluat*) and (laminated composite plates or composite laminated plates) and (strength or reliab* or stiff*)


Test

testSONY DSC


Case study (test)

Case study


Prepare, plan, do: a case study

First year undergraduate level project: Build a simple seismograph

 

Nick’s project “…aims to construct a simple seismograph sensitive enough to have a good chance of detecting one or two earthquakes in a month or so. An essential part of the project will be to learn about seismology and what it tells us about the interior of the earth. You will also be encouraged to find out how a state-of-the-art seismograph works!

 

We are almost certain to pick up spurious signals from internally-generated movements of the Blackett Building, so it will be necessary to compare our records with data from the UK seismograph network.

 

Some basic electronics will probably become involved, and data acquisition using a digital data logger is envisaged.” (Bignell, 2007)

 

Where should he start? He doesn’t know much at all about seismographs or seismology. He also needs to remember that this project will involve some experimental work and data analysis as well as some research.

  1. He decides to start by doing some background work on seismology and seismographs. A Google search for ‘seismology’ finds him a number of websites, including that of the British Geological Survey, which has an education page which is a good start. It turns out they also have some useful datasets available online  .
  2. After he tries Google, he decides to also check what’s available in the library. Using the Library Search option found on the library home page to search Books and more, he finds a book on an introduction to seismiology, which will be a useful reference..
  3. Next Nick develops a plan for building his seismograph, including a budget and time estimate. He runs this by his supervisor before he builds it.

If Nick was completing this project at an MSci/MSc level, then there would be additional research and analysis involved:

MSci / MSc level project: Build a simple seismograph and search for evidence for a liquid outer core.

If Nick was working on this for his MSci or MSc project then he would follow steps 1 – 3 outlined above, however he would also search the journal literature.

  1. To search for evidence for seismic signals you would expect from the liquid outer core, he would need to search  a database called Web of Science to find peer reviewed journal articles to see what other researchers have found.. He can do a topic search on liquid outer core and seismo* (which includes seismology and seismographs) to identify recent research articles written on the subject. He identifies one key article as a result and can read this online so can do this from home rather than staying in the library. This article also allows him to find other relevant articles via the References list and the Cited articles list.
  2. In addition to this research, Nick would also be collecting data and analysising it, ideally early in the process, but this may not happen until the end of the process.

 

The references Nick used:

 

Bignell, K. (2007) Build a simple seismograph. [Online] Available from: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/physicsuglabs/firstyearlab/projects/previousprojects/projectproposals2007 [Accessed 1 September 2011].

 

British Geological Survey (2011) Geoindex WMS Services [Online] Available from: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/geoindex/wms.htm [Accessed 12 September 2011].

Shearer, P.M. (2009) Introduction to seismology. 2nd edition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

Tkalcic, H., Kennett, B.L.N., & Cormier, V.F. (2009) On the inner-outer core density contrast from PKiKP/PcP amplitude ratios and uncertainties caused by seismic noise. Geophysical Journal International, [Online] 179 (1), 425-443 Available from: DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04294.x [Accessed 12 September 2011].

 

Search tools he used: Google, the library catalogue and Web of Science.

 

 


Plan: your search strategy

Once you’ve decided on what information you need, and the search tool you’re going to use, then you need to think about the way in which you’re going to search. There are some basic points to keep in mind when you are planning a search strategy regardless of what kind of search tool you are using. You will find that the more successful searches you do, the better your skills will become – like all activities, searching for information improves with practice.

 

1. Identify key terms and authors

Once you have chosen your search tool(s), you need to think about keywords for your given subject. If this was your topic:

‘Properties of a laser beam.’

You would need to break it down into separate keywords / subjects

  • properties
  • laser
  • beam

You may also find it useful to do some preliminary reading in textbooks and encyclopaedias which will help you identify some keywords, and perhaps also key authors.

2. Boolean searching

Use search or Boolean operators to combine your terms:

  • AND

Example

laser and beam

Items containing BOTH words will now be searched for. Using ‘and’ will usually result in fewer but more relevant hits.

  • OR

Example

laser or beam

Items containing EITHER word will now be searched for

  • Use parentheses to execute part of the search separately. This is used when you use the search operator OR.

Example

beam and (laser or particle)

Using brackets helps structure your search by breaking it down into sections. The following will now be searched for:

beam and laser
beam
and particle
laser
and particle and beam

  • Put quotation marks around a group of words to search for a phrase

Example

laser beams

  • The term NOT’ is a stop word

Example

laser beams not particle beams

Any items referring to particle beams will not be retrieved.

Using truncation and wildcards

The easiest way to search for words that look similar is to use truncation, or a wildcard. The symbols will vary according to the database you are using (use the help page to find out what is the required symbol), but the principles are always the same.

By using the following symbols at the end of a word you can retrieve variant endings of a word.

$ - US
*UK

Example

Simulat$

will retrieve references containing the words:

simulate, simulates, simulated, simulator

Example

propert*

will retrieve references containing the words:

property, properties

  • Use a wildcard to replace a letter in the middle of a word,

Example

m?n

will retrieve references containing the words men or man.

Example

polari?e

The terms polarize (US spelling) or polarize (UK spelling) will now be searched for

3. Field restriction

Most databases allow you to search specific fields only. For instance, if you know that Ian Lean has written a useful paper on your subject, you may want to search for Lean and limit your search to the author field. Similarly, if you have retrieved far too many papers on your chosen topics, you may want to limit your search to title only.

4. Range limits

Some databases allow you to apply limits such as language, date of publication, and publication type. Again, if you have retrieved too many references, you may want to limit your search to a shorter date range, or to only retrieve review articles.

 

Example search

If you are interested in finding information about modelling the motion of a simple pendulum:

  • identify the key terms (and authors)

modelling
motion
simple pendulum

  • think of alternative words or phrases for your key terms

modeling

movement

  • combine your terms using truncation and parentheses where required

(modelling or modeling) and (motion or movement) and ”simple pendulum”

 

 


Case study

First year undergraduate level project: Build a simple seismograph

 

Nick’s project “…aims to construct a simple seismograph sensitive enough to have a good chance of detecting one or two earthquakes in a month or so. An essential part of the project will be to learn about seismology and what it tells us about the interior of the earth. You will also be encouraged to find out how a state-of-the-art seismograph works!

 

We are almost certain to pick up spurious signals from internally-generated movements of the Blackett Building, so it will be necessary to compare our records with data from the UK seismograph network.

 

Some basic electronics will probably become involved, and data acquisition using a digital data logger is envisaged.” (Bignell, 2007)

 

Where should he start? He doesn’t know much at all about seismographs or seismology. He also needs to remember that this project will involve some experimental work and data analysis as well as some research.

  1. He decides to start by doing some background work on seismology and seismographs. A Google search for ‘seismology’ finds him a number of websites, including that of the British Geological Survey, which has an education page which is a good start. It turns out they also have some useful datasets available online  .
  2. After he tries Google, he decides to also check what’s available in the library. Using the Library Search option found on the library home page to search Books and more, he finds a book which is an introduction to seismiology, which is what he decides to start with..
  3. [need to add in next steps here – see comment]

If Nick was completing this project at an MSci/MSc level, then there would be additional research and analysis involved.

MSci / MSc level project: Build a simple seismograph and search for evidence for a liquid outer core.

If Nick was working on this for his MSci or MSc project then he would follow steps 1 – 3 outlined above, but would then need to do some further research and analysis.

  1. Next, to search for evidence for seismic signals you would expect from the liquid outer core, he would need to search  a database called Web of Science to find peer reviewed journal articles to see what other researchers have found.. He can do a topic search on liquid outer core and seismo* (which includes seismology and seismographs) to identify recent research articles written on the subject. He identifies one key article as a result and can read this  online so can do this from home rather than staying in the library. This article also allows him to find other relevant articles via the References list and the Cited articles list.
  2. Data collection / analysis

 

The references Nick used:

 

Bignell, K. (2007) Build a simple seismograph. [Online] Available from: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/physicsuglabs/firstyearlab/projects/previousprojects/projectproposals2007 [Accessed 1 September 2011].

 

British Geological Survey (2011) Geoindex WMS Services [Online] Available from: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/geoindex/wms.htm [Accessed 12 September 2011].

Shearer, P.M. (2009) Introduction to seismology. 2nd edition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

Tkalcic, H., Kennett, B.L.N., & Cormier, V.F. (2009) On the inner-outer core density contrast from PKiKP/PcP amplitude ratios and uncertainties caused by seismic noise. Geophysical Journal International, [Online] 179 (1), 425-443 Available from: DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04294.x [Accessed 12 September 2011].

 

Search tools he used: Google, the library catalogue and Web of Science.

 

 


Prepare, plan, do: a case study

Have another look at the case study. What did Matthew do to ensure that the information he found was authoritative? Are there other search tools he could have used?

 

Superbugs and their resistance to antibiotics

Matthew is going to give a presentation on superbugs and their resistance to antibiotics to his tutorial group.

He decides to start his research by checking what is available in the library. A search of the library catalogue using the keyword ‘superbug’ is disappointing with only one book found. Then he remembers the librarian talking about using different keywords when searching, so he jots down some alternative search terms to use including ‘MRSA’. When Matthew searches for ‘MRSA’ in the library catalogue he finds 2 promising books – MRSA in practice and MRSA : current perspectives - that look like they will cover the basics. These will be useful but the information in books can be out of date in comparison to current research and Matthew really needs some up-to-date information. Perhaps he should try searching the internet?

A Google search for ‘superbug MRSA’ retrieves tens of thousands of results. He is not sure which ones he should use but he did find a useful document by the Department of Health which he knows he can trust.

He remembers his librarian mentioned Intute - a website that contains links to internet resources that have been objectively evaluated. Typing in ‘superbug’ finds nothing but typing in ‘MRSA’ finds 29 websites which he knows will be from reliable sources. Among them he finds 2 Department of Health documents – so he knows his decision to use the Department of Health was correct. He also finds a useful website from the Association of Medical Microbiologists.

Matthew is pleased with what he has found so far but he knows he needs some scholarly information. He needs to draw on current research to demonstrate to his tutorial group that he is aware of the academic literature on the topic. His librarian suggests searching Web of Knowledge which is a database platform that allows him to search the Web of Science database and other databases in one search. The librarian also suggests searching PubMed a database that covers the biomedical subjects.

Matthew decides initially to search on Web of Knowledge, he finds many useful results including some journal articles and a conference proceeding. Journals are good – Matthew’s tutor said that students should use this type of material in their research, so he’s pleased he’s found these. Some of the journal articles are available online as well, such as some published in a journal called Nature that is available online, so Matthew can read them at home rather than stay in the library all day.

Matthew remembers reading articles in newspapers about MRSA and superbugs – maybe they would be useful to give him insight into how society views it. He asks his librarian if there is a way of viewing newspaper articles – without having to search each webpage of each newspaper. His librarian suggests he tries a database called Factiva which not only collates journal articles but also newspaper articles and press releases.

By searching Factiva, Matthew found some useful newspaper articles from The Sunday Times and a press release. They were available to read online and Matthew also had the option of being able to email the articles he was interested in to himself.

The references Matthew used:

Association of Medical Microbiologists. (1995) The facts about… MRSA. [Online] Available from: http://www.amm.co.uk/files/factsabout/fa_mrsa.htm [Accessed 21st August 2000].

Cannon, G. (1995) Superbug: nature’s revenge: why antibiotics can breed disease. London, Virgin.

Department of Health. (no date) A simple guide to MRSA. [Online] Available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4113479.pdf [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Department of Health. (2005) MRSA surveillance system: results. [Online] Available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_4085951 [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Fluit, A. C. & Schmitz, F.J. (2003) MRSA: current perspectives. Wymondham, Caister Academic.

Giles, J. (2004) Superbug genome excels at passing on drug resistance. Nature. [Online] 430 ( 6996) , 126-126. Available from: http://newisiknowledge.com [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Goldstein, F. W. (2007) Combating resistance in a challenging, changing environment. In: 16th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2006) April 1-4, 2006. Oxford, Blackwell Scientific. pp. 2-6.

Gordon, Tom. (Sunday 15th July 2007) Cleaning ‘is not answer to rid wards of bugs’. The Sunday Times. [Online] Available from: http://global.factiva.com [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Gould, I. M. (2007) MRSA in practice. London, Royal Society of Medicine Press.

Griggs, Carly. ( Friday 24th August 2007 ) Superbug figures on the rise. Newsquest Media Group Newspapers. [Online] Available from: http://global.factiva.com [Accessed 21st August 2009].

MacKenzie, F.M., Bruce, J., Struelens, M.J., Goossens, H., Mollison, J. & Gould, I.M. (2007) Antimicrobial drug use and infection control practices associated with the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in European hospitals. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. [Online] 13(3), 269–276. Available from: http://www.pubmed.gov [Accessed 21st August 2009].

 


Plan: Your search strategy

Once you’ve decided on what information you need, and the search tool you’re going to use, then you need to think about the way in which you’re going to search. There are some basic points to keep in mind when you are planning a search strategy regardless of what kind of search tool you are using. You will find that the more successful searches you do, the better your skills will become – like all activities, searching for information improves with practice.

 

1. Identify key terms and authors

Once you have chosen your search tool(s), you need to think about keywords for your given subject. If this was your topic:

‘Finding out about the sources of water pollution by inorganic contaminants’

You would need to break it down into separate keywords / subjects

  • Water pollution
  • Inorganic
  • Sources
  • Contaminants

You may also find it useful to do some preliminary reading in textbooks and encyclopaedias which will help you identify some keywords, and perhaps also key authors.

2. Boolean searching

Use search or Boolean operators to combine your terms:

  • AND

Example

blood and glucose

Items containing BOTH words will now be searched for. Using ‘and’ will usually result in fewer but more relevant hits.

  • OR

Example

glucose or sugar

Items containing EITHER word will now be searched for

  • Use parentheses to execute part of the search separately. This is used when you use the search operator OR.

Example

blood and (glucose or sugar)

Using brackets helps structure your search by breaking it down into sections. The following will now be searched for:

blood and glucose
blood and sugar
blood and glucose and sugar

  • Put quotation marks around a group of words to search for a phrase

Example

diabetes mellitus

  • The term NOT’ is a stop word

Example

Hyperglycemia not Hypoglycemia,

Any items referring to Hypoglycemia will not be retrieved.

Using truncation and wildcards

The easiest way to search for words that look similar is to use truncation, or a wildcard. The symbols will vary according to the database you are using (use the help page to find out what is the required symbol), but the principles are always the same.

By using the following symbols at the end of a word you can retrieve variant endings of a word.

$ - US
*UK

Example

Contamina$

will retrieve references containing the words:
contamination, contaminants, contaminated, contaminate, contaminates.

Example

diseas*

will retrieve references containing the words:
disease, diseased, diseases.

  • Use a wildcard to replace a letter in the middle of a word

Example

m?n

will retrieve references containing the words men or man.

Example

colo?r

The terms color (US spelling) or colour (UK spelling) will now be searched for

 

3. Field restriction

Most databases allow you to search specific fields only. For instance, if you know that Ian Lean has written a useful paper on your subject, you may want to search for Lean and limit your search to the author field. Similarly, if you have retrieved far too many papers on your chosen topics, you may want to limit your search to title only.

4. Range limits

Some databases allow you to apply limits such as language, date of publication, and publication type. Again, if you have retrieved too many references, you may want to limit your search to a shorter date range, or to only retrieve review articles.

 

Example search

The role of molecular chaperones in protein folding and cell death

  • identify the key terms (and authors)


chaperones
protein folding
cell death

  • think of alternative words or phrases for your key terms

chaperones or chaperonin or heat shock protein or hsp
cell death or apoptosis or necrosis

  • combine your terms using truncation and parentheses where required

(chaperon* or ‘heat shock protein*’ or hsp) and ‘protein* fold*’ and (‘cell death’ or apoptosis or necrosis)

 

 


Case study

Superbugs and their resistance to antibiotics

Matthew is going to give a presentation on superbugs and their resistance to antibiotics to his tutorial group.

He decides to start his research by checking what is available in the library. A search of the library catalogue using the keyword ‘superbug’ is disappointing with only one book found. Then he remembers the librarian talking about using different keywords when searching, so he jots down some alternative search terms to use including ‘MRSA’. When Matthew searches for ‘MRSA’ in the library catalogue he finds 2 promising books – MRSA in practice and MRSA : current perspectives - that look like they will cover the basics. These will be useful but the information in books can be out of date in comparison to current research and Matthew really needs some up-to-date information. Perhaps he should try searching the internet?

A Google search for ‘superbug MRSA’ retrieves tens of thousands of results. He is not sure which ones he should use but he did find a useful document by the Department of Health which he knows he can trust.

He remembers his librarian mentioned Intute - a website that contains links to internet resources that have been objectively evaluated. Typing in ‘superbug’ finds nothing but typing in ‘MRSA’ finds 29 websites which he knows will be from reliable sources. Among them he finds 2 Department of Health documents – so he knows his decision to use the Department of Health was correct. He also finds a useful website from the Association of Medical Microbiologists.

Matthew is pleased with what he has found so far but he knows he needs some scholarly information. He needs to draw on current research to demonstrate to his tutorial group that he is aware of the academic literature on the topic. His librarian suggests searching Web of Knowledge which is a database platform that allows him to search the Web of Science database and other databases in one search. The librarian also suggests searching PubMed a database that covers the biomedical subjects.

Matthew decides initially to search on Web of Knowledge, he finds many useful results including some journal articles and a conference proceeding. Journals are good – Matthew’s tutor said that students should use this type of material in their research, so he’s pleased he’s found these. Some of the journal articles are available online as well, such as some published in a journal called Nature that is available online, so Matthew can read them at home rather than stay in the library all day.

Matthew remembers reading articles in newspapers about MRSA and superbugs – maybe they would be useful to give him insight into how society views it. He asks his librarian if there is a way of viewing newspaper articles – without having to search each webpage of each newspaper. His librarian suggests he tries a database called Factiva which not only collates journal articles but also newspaper articles and press releases.

By searching Factiva, Matthew found some useful newspaper articles from The Sunday Times and a press release. They were available to read online and Matthew also had the option of being able to email the articles he was interested in to himself.

The references Matthew used:

Association of Medical Microbiologists. (1995) The facts about… MRSA. [Online] Available from: http://www.amm.co.uk/files/factsabout/fa_mrsa.htm [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Cannon, G. (1995) Superbug: nature’s revenge: why antibiotics can breed disease. London, Virgin.

Department of Health. (no date) A simple guide to MRSA. [Online] Available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4113479.pdf [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Department of Health. (2005) MRSA surveillance system: results. [Online] Available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_4085951 [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Fluit, A. C. & Schmitz, F.J. (2003) MRSA: current perspectives. Wymondham, Caister Academic.

Giles, J. (2004) Superbug genome excels at passing on drug resistance. Nature. [Online] 430 ( 6996) , 126-126. Available from: http://newisiknowledge.com [Accessed 21st August 2008].

Goldstein, F. W. (2007) Combating resistance in a challenging, changing environment. In: 16th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2006) April 1-4, 2006. Oxford, Blackwell Scientific. pp. 2-6.

Gordon, Tom. (Sunday 15th July 2007) Cleaning ‘is not answer to rid wards of bugs’. The Sunday Times. [Online] Available from: http://global.factiva.com [Accessed 21st August 2009].

Gould, I. M. (2007) MRSA in practice. London, Royal Society of Medicine Press.

Griggs, Carly. ( Friday 24th August 2007 ) Superbug figures on the rise. Newsquest Media Group Newspapers. [Online] Available from: http://global.factiva.com [Accessed 21st August 2009].

MacKenzie, F.M., Bruce, J., Struelens, M.J., Goossens, H., Mollison, J. & Gould, I.M. (2007) Antimicrobial drug use and infection control practices associated with the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in European hospitals. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. [Online] 13(3), 269–276. Available from: http://www.pubmed.gov [Accessed 21st August 2009].

 


Case study

A Problem based learning (PBL) scenario

Ashanti has been given a PBL case by her lecturer on an obese man in his late 20s who is considering stapling treatment. She has been asked what options she would suggest for safe and permanent weight loss.

Ashanti has some basic knowledge about the health dangers of obesity such as premature death and high blood pressure, and also has an idea of the possible treatments such as diet and exercise. But where does she begin to get more detailed information?

Wanting to get some introductory background to the case, and certain that the Internet must have plenty of information, Ashanti types ‘obesity treatment’ into the Google search box.

She’s used Google many times before, and found it easy to use. Unfortunately, on this occasion, her enquiry produces around 7 million hits, and though some of them look promising, she is not that confident about her ability to choose the best sites.

Perhaps she should check what’s available in the library? A search of the library catalogue finds several types of publications, including a book by Briony Thomas titled ‘Manual of dietetic practice’. It contains sections on obesity as well as information on cognitive behavioural strategies for treating obesity. She also finds another book edited by Thomas Wadden and Albert Stunkard titled ‘Handbook of obesity treatment’.

Ashanti has made a good start and is on the right track. But she needs to get more in-depth information if she’s going to be able to complete this PBL case.

She then remembers Intute:Medicine which has been recommended to her by her librarian. She has been told that it only contains resources that have been objectively evaluated.

Ashanti types ‘obesity treatment’ into the Intute:Medicine search box and finds that the number of hits is just over 20. Among the resources she finds is a report published by the US National Institutes of Health in 1998 titled Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. This report highlights ways to treat obesity such as dietary therapy, physical activity, behaviour therapy, pharmacotherapy as well as surgery.

Ashanti also finds that the authors of the report have included a list of all the references they used to write it. She sees many titles that she thinks could be helpful. One is a paper from 1994 is called Weight cycling. National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity, and it’s published in something called JAMA. Ashanti isn’t sure what this is so she asks her librarian. He tells her this is a journal and its full title is the Journal of the American Medical Association . So Ashanti has found a journal article. And the library has a copy of it as well.

Possessing some useful reports, books and journal articles, Ashanti is very pleased with the material she’s found so far. Her librarian recommends she uses a database called PubMed to search for more recent journal articles on treating obesity.

She just types in the keywords ‘obesity treatment stapling’ in the PubMed search box, and finds many results including some very recent reviews , and journal articles . Journals and reviews are good – Ashanti’s lecturer said that the students should use this type of material in their research, so she’s pleased she’s found these. Many of them are available online as well, such as one published in a journal called International Journal of Obesity, so Ashanti can read them at home, rather than staying in the library all day.

The references Ashanti used:

Weight cycling. National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity. JAMA. 1994; 272 (15) pp. 1196-1202.

National Institutes of Health (1998). Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults. [Online]. Available from: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf Accessed: 19th April 2007.

Thomas, Briony (2001). Manual of dietetic practice. 3rd ed. Oxford, Blackwell Science.

Wadden, T. & Stunkard, A. (eds.) (2002). Handbook of obesity treatment. London, Guildford.

 


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