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Advanced Literature Search Guide for Health: Home

Advanced Literature Searching

This guide offers in-depth support for health students doing advanced literature searches for research methods and dissertation modules.

One-to-one support can be booked here. If you need further support, book in to speak one-to-one with a Learning and Teaching Librarian either face-to-face or online via Teams.

What is a literature search?

The literature search focuses on a single topic or research question which aims to cover all the available research relating to the question. It is conducted using one or more databases (usually 3) and requires the use of appropriate search terms with synonyms, related terms etc. It also includes an audit trail (usually presented in a table) showing how you refined your results and arrived at your final articles. 

Quick links

Below are a few useful documents to help you with your literature search. 

Database searching videos

The videos below demonstrate an example search in some of the health databases we have available at UoS. 

Access these databases and more in our A-Z. 


CINAHL search- 10/01/2023, 09:00:52 from Graham Martindale on Vimeo.


British Nursing Database 

Searching BND - 10/01/2023, 09:14:22 from Graham Martindale on Vimeo.

Example Literature Searches

Below are links to previous dissertations containing examples of literature searches. A description of a literature search is sometimes referred to as a "facet analysis"

Adult Nursing (2022) 

Children's Nursing (2022) 

Mental Health Nursing (2016)

Radiography - systematic literature review (2020) 

Radiography - Audit (2020) 

SCPHN (2018)

Health Thesaurus

To help get you started with your search, we have created the Health Thesaurus below. 

It contains a range of health-related words and phrases, along with suggestions for alternatives. You can use it to give you ideas for your search strings. 

Click on the link below to download the Health Thesaurus. 

All images included in this guide are available from Upsplash through Creative Commons licensing CC-BY-2.0