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EBM Literature Sources : Introduction

Use of this LibGuide

This LibGuide is used in the medical curriculum at UMC Utrecht.

More LibGuides



General information about PubMed (without assignments) can be found in the LibGuide PubMed LibGuide PubMed

The following LibGuides may also be of interest when you need help finding (medical) literature:

What will you find in this LibGuide?

Searching literature sources in the field of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) requires certain skills, but you can master them with the help of the information in this LibGuide. Unfortunately, it is not possible to search several sources simultaneously in one single search ('metasearch'). As each source has its own functionalities, such a search would lead to a loss of functionality of the underlying sources.

In this LibGuide you will be introduced to several major EBM sources: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and APA PsychINFO. We will also pay attention to citation searching and reference management. These subjects can be found under the tabs at the top of this LibGuide.

Where will you find EBM literature sources?

Sources in the field of Evidence Based Medicine can be found via the University Library homepage. Choose 'Search engines' and the discipline 'Medicine' to find a list of sources, divided into primary and secondary importance. 

Databases and journals paid for by Utrecht University can be reached from home via the library website. You can also log in with your Solis-ID beforehand.

The Kleine UBU-link knop of  the University Library automatically links the results in most search engines to the paid holdings of the library. This means you can click  through to full-text articles in journals to which the library subscribes directly. You will only get the UBU link when you access the search engines via Utrecht University Library!

For easy access to most digital resources there is also the Library Access browser plugin, which often gives access to paid resources without additional login, even outside the UU or UMCU network. See for this: Library Access.

Practical search tips

In finding the answer to a clinical question via the EBM method we have a few important tips to offer:

1) Always start with a fast and simple search to check if there is any information on your subject. Ask an experienced colleague about the sources you can use and about useful search terms.

2) As you will see in the assignments, there are many databases, each with their own options. Nearly all databases offer extensive tutorials: help to teach you how to use the databases. Check these tutorials to quickly find your way around.

3) At the moment, there are two important trends within EBM searching. The first leans (often unnoticed!) on the thinking of others. In that case use is made of filters drawn up by others. The second attempts a more open, creative approach to answering clinical search questions, where the focus is on your own thinking. In the end the latter method yields exactly those references which should be found, precisely on the subject of your question. If you have mastered this technique you will find that the number of articles you will have to read is limited to an effective minimum.

4) If you decide to use filters, limits etc. after all, do realise that you limit the final search results beforehand. We recommend you to apply filters, limits etc, in your last ultimate step. Especially in the case of filters it is important to stay aware of the way in which they have been put up. Always keep a critical eye!

5) Are you in search of articles which are available neither in electronic nor in print format in the University Library, check Google Scholar next. If this search does not lead to results either, you can request the article from another library via the database WorldCat. For more information see the library website. This service is not free of charge.

6) If you want to learn how to systematically search for literature, a handy module has been developed on the Life Long Learning Platform of Utrecht University: Compass+: Systematically searching for literature. You can log in with your Solis-Id.