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"Harmful fetal effects of beer consumption by pregnant students at college athletic events"
"Determinants of binge drinking among female college students in the United States"
"Alcohol consumption by young adults"
Think about your topic
What terms encapsulate your topic?
Are there synonyms?
What fields of inquiry are relevant: psychology? law/policy? education? anthropology?
Let's talk about indexing!
Do you want articles on labor or articles on labor? Or is it labour?
Do you want articles on HIV (a virus) or articles on HIV diseases (such as AIDS)?
Is epidemiology a concept relating to the causes and distribution of diseases, or is it what epidemiologists do?
Is lead a noun or a verb?
Indexing facilitates more precise search statements, especially for topics that are vague or ambiguous.
Using index terms also helps you avoid the need to think of every possible synonym or alternate spelling of your search terms.
Indexing means the citations in the database are assigned terms from a controlled vocabulary (Not all databases use a controlled vocabulary, however)
Index terms are sometimes called descriptors or thesaurus terms; in PubMed they are calledMedical Subject Headings, or MeSH
Critically Evaluating What You Find
What is evidence?
All research is (potentially) "evidence" and there are no "perfect" studies.
Critically evaluating what you read will help any unearth biases or methodological shortcomings that may be present.
Is there an agenda (bias)?
It's doubtful that any study of humans is without some kind of bias, either in the study design, or in the author's pre-existing beliefs. How bias in methodology was controlled and the significance of bias in any particular study is what's relevant.
Things to consider:
The question being addressed: What kind of research gets funded?
The Literature Review Matrix (below) may help you organize what you find in your literature search. This matrix is a simplified version from Health Sciences Literature Review Made Easy (various editions of this book are available at several UCB libraries).
Nearly all the databases you use to find articles, etc., retain your search history. Literature reviews, like epidemiological research, should be rigorous and reproducible. Save or print your search history to help document your search strategy, which will include:
the date of the search(es),
search terms used (keywords; title words; MeSHs, thesaurus terms, descriptors),
any limits (eg, language, publication dates) that you placed on your search.
how many relevant citations you found in each database.
Using PubMed's Clipboard and My NCBI can help with both saving your search strategy and the citations you find.
More information may be found on the PubMed Save Citations tab of this guide.
Off Campus Access to Library Resources
Off-campus access is limited to current UCB faculty, staff and students. Choose one of the following methods:
Library Proxy (aka EZproxy)
When you click on a link to an article, database, etc., (from a library web page) you will be prompted to authenticate via CalNet.
If you click on an article (etc.) link found via a search engine or a non-UCB Library webpage, you will need to use a bookmarklet to access the licensed resource.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Download and install the VPN client to allow access the UC Berkeley licensed resources. Make sure you select Library Access - Full Tunnel VPN when you log on VPN FAQ