** Check our databases pages first: Healthcare Resources (NHS) ::  Nursing Databases (Keele) ::  Midwifery Databases (Keele) :: Medical Databases (Keele) ; and our Literature Searching page for a wide range of searchable resources. Report any broken links to the e-resources librarian.

** Library Search - search for books, ebooks and Keele online resources

Literature Searching Sites


Biomed Central - publishes a wide range of open access ejournals

BMJ Specialties - news and articles from the BMJ relating to specific topics

EMCDDA best practice portal - European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, range of resources covering drug related prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social re-integration.

eMedicine Special Topics - US-based evidence-based resources related to medical conditions

Epistemonikos - database of health evidence, including primary studies, systematic reviews and structured summaries

Health Systems Evidence - from McMaster University, database of research regarding governance, finance, delivery and implementation strategies in healthcare systems

Medline Plus Topics - US-based website from the National Institutes of Health, presenting health-related information in an easy accessible format

Pubmed - Provided by the National Library of Medicine, provides free and simple access to abstracts in healthcare and science-related topics

Rehabdata - National Rehabilitation Information Centre literature database

Social Care Online - abstracts of relevant social work and social care literature from a wide range of resources

TRIP - clinical search tool providing access to high quality clinical evidence


BestBets – Best Evidence Topics, provides answers to very specific clinical problems, using the best available evidence

Campbell Collaboration - an international research network that produces systematic reviews of the effects of social interventions in Crime & Justice, Education, International Development, and Social Welfare

Centre for reviews and dissemination (CRD) - Collection of 3 high quality databases including DARE (effects of interventions used in health and social care), NHS EED (quality assessed economic evaluations) and HTA (health technology assessments). DARE & NHS EED will not be updated after 31st March 2015

Cochrane Library- high quality evidence in healthcare topics

Epistemonikos - database of health evidence, including systematic reviews and structured summaries; provides interconnects between the articles retrieved

NHS Evidence - search engine allowing users to search across a wide range of accredited resources

NICE - national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health

NIHR Dissemination Centre - summaries of the latest research, including commentaries and insight into relevance for healthcare professionals and patients

Occupational Therapy CATS - contains CATs (critically appraised topics) and CAPs (critically appraised papers) focussing on occupational therapy interventions

OTseeker - contains abstracts of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy. Trials have been critically appraised and rated to help you to evaluate their validity and interpretability

Pedro - bibliographic details and abstracts of randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews in physiotherapy. Most trials on the database have been rated for quality to help you quickly discriminate between trials that are likely to be valid and interpretable and those that are not

PROSPEROinternational database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care, from the University of York, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

TRIP - clinical search tool providing access to high quality clinical evidence


Clinical Knowledge Summariesevidence-based guidelines aimed at primary care staff

eGuidelines - browse thru lists of available guidelines for specific conditions and diseases

National Guideline Clearinghouse – US-based comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and related documents produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), US Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP)

NICE  - National guidelines

Royal College of Physicians guidelines - resources including clinical guidelines

SIGN - Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network


Department of Health - Policies, frameworks, regulations, bulletins, statistics

Joseph Rowntree Foundation – an endowed charity that funds a large, UK-wide research and development programme, including health-related topics

King’s Fund – a charitable organisation seeking to understand how the health system in England can be improved and working to impact on policy, services and behaviour change

Clinical Trials

AllTrials.net - campaign calling for all clinical trial data to be published

ClinicalTrials.gov – US-based registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world.

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials

Current controlled trials - features two clinical trial resources. ISRCTN Register is a database of randomised controlled trials with an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN). metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) is an international database combining registers of ongoing randomised controlled trials in all areas of healthcare

EU Clinical Trials Register - search for ongoing trials

EU Trials Tracker - tracking of clinical trials on the EU clinical trial register and whether their results are being reported

FDAAA Trials Tracker - tracking of US recorded clinical trials which have not published their results

ISRCTN - a simple numeric system for the unique identification of randomised controlled trials worldwide. The ISRCTN Register also accepts registration of other forms of studies designed to assess the efficacy of health-care interventions

Trials Journal - open access, peer-reviewed, online journal that will encompass all aspects of the performance and findings of randomized controlled trials

UK Clinical Trials Gateway - search for ongoing trials

WHO International clinical trial search portal - covers trials registered from a range of countries


EthOS - The British Library run Electronic Thesis Online Service (EthOS) provides free electronic access to all UK Higher Education Institutional theses.

Index to Theses - a listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations - Details of theses and dissertations from universities in the U.S. and worldwide can be searched and browsed, and in some cases links to the online full text are provided. This resource is not comprehensive.

OATD (Open Access Theses and Dissertations) – search for theses and dissertations available in full-text.

PhDData - A database of doctoral dissertations in progress around the world.

Search Engines

NHS Evidence - Guidelines, reports and reviews published by accredited sources.

Google Scholar - Google search engine restricted to scholarly items in a wide range of subjects. This is often most useful if you are looking for details of a complete citation or for freely available full-text articles.

MedNar – medically-focused search engine.

Grey Literature

Grey Literature refers to non-traditional sources of information and may include: reports, leaflets, bulletins, dissertations etc. These sources of information may not be published through the traditional route and may not be available within typical bibliographic databases.

Please check the other tabs above for sources of grey literature as well as the links below:

OpenGrey – multi-disciplinary European database, providing references to technical or research reports, doctoral dissertations, conference papers and other grey literature.

BASE (Bielefeld Academy Search Engine) – search engine for over 100 million academic documents.

British Library – wide range of material held, use the filter options to focus your search.

CADTH (Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health) – independent, not for profit Canadian-based organisation, providing evidence to support healthcare decisions.

CASH (Current Awareness Service for Health) – browsable topics of the latest news around a range of topics.

King’s Fund – reports, bulletins, blogs and news items, based on healthcare topics.

Nuffield Trust – reports, research, news and policy analysis from this independent healthcare charity.

Open Access

Open Access content is normally content that is available without the need for the reader to purchase it or log in. Open access content can include complete journals or individual articles.

Core (Connecting Repositories) – searchable database of open access research papers.

DOAJ (Directoy of Open Access Journals) – multi-disciplinary list of open access journal titles

OAIster – catalogue of open access resources, harvested from library collections.

OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) – search range of academic repositories for open access articles.


Our book collection can help you to develop your literature searching skills: try searching for subjects:

  • Medical Literature
  • Research
  • Internet Search
  • Information Resources
  • Medical Informatics
  • Evidence-based Medicine
  • Evidence-based Nursing

Literature Searching Help

 More help with Literature Searching

 More help with Critical Appraisal

More Help Online

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) Systematic Reviews: CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in health care - overview of systematic review methods, includes a section on documenting the search process.

Health Library Literature Search Plan - guide to advise students how to start a literature search plan.

MeSH on Demand - tool from Pubmed to help you to generate Medical Subject Headings (or thesaurus terms) from your queries.

Prisma Statement - Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis, consists of a 27 item check list and 4-phase flow diagram indicating how to report a systematic review.

Pubmed Search Strategies Blog - suggests keywords, Mesh terms and combinations to use in searches on Pubmed for a wide range of conditions and patient groups.

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