Literature searching

Here you will find guides and tutorials to help you to develop your literature searching skills. For more help on using specific tools please see other sections.


Literature Search Plan (361KB) - this guide will help you to develop a literature search strategy by considering the key concepts and scope of your topic.

Literature searching overview and action plan (127KB) - introducing the 9 steps to successful literature searching and helping you to plan your own search

Use these tools to help you to identify your question and complete your literature search more effectively; complete the relevant worksheet to help you to breakdown your question:

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

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.

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.

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.


Check your skills - assess your own literature searching skills and find out how you can improve them

Introduction to literature searching - complete our tutorial to learn how to construct your literature search plan

Literature searching flashcards - get a quick overview of the key steps you need to develop your literature search plan

Information Skills - find more tutorials to help you to develop your information skills and learn to search effectively

How to search the literature effectively - programme on the eLearning for Health Hub (eLfH), in partnership with HEE; designed to help the healthcare workforce (clinical and non-clinical) build confidence to search published literature for articles and evidence

Online Guides

See our blog, Information Skills for Health, for a range of articles to help you get to grip with literature searching:

Be Search Smart - series of articles introducing all the different elements of literature searching as well as hints as to how the Health Library can help you.