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Evidence-based dental practice: searching the literature and writing a report

This guide will help you search and assess literature to support dental research questions.

Get the articles

A citation tells you all information you need to find an article.

At UofT there are several ways to get articles once you have done a literature review:

1) Directly from the article database. Sometimes clicking on the title of the articles will bring you to the full records, which has 'full-text' link: it can be Get It! button or PDF button or full-text button from publisher. Different databases may have different full-text buttons.

2) From a search engine like Google. Some students prefer to copy and paste the article title in Google to get to the UofT Libraries full-text. However, in order to easily access full online text articles, you may want to configue the Google Scholar Preferencesto make the "Get it! UTL" function to work with Google scholar.

3) Through the library catalogue by searching for the article title or Journal Name, then clicking on the correct link.

In LibrarySearch, search for the article title in quotes, or search for the journal title to see if our library owns it or not. If you only have the abbreviation of the journal title, you can check Journals Database (PubMed) to get the full journal title.

Here is the shortcut to check whether or not our library owns the journal.

If you can NOT find the journal you want in Library Catalogue, use Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery service provided by the Library.

Reading a citation

For each article, you will find a citation, e.g.,

Mock D. The differential diagnosis of temporomandibular disorders. [Journal Article] Journal of Orofacial Pain. 13(4):246-50, 1999 Fall.

The example above tells us the following:

  1. The article's author is D. Mock.
  2. The article's title is The differential diagnosis of temporomandibular disorders.
  3. The journal's name is Journal of Orofacial Pain.
  4. The journal issue's number is volume 13, number 4.
  5. The article's page numbers are 246 to 250.
  6. The journal issue's date is Fall, 1999.

If the full text is right there, you can read the article instantly. Otherwise, you will need to:

  • Take note of the citation details, especially journal name, issue number, page numbers, and date.
  • If we have the article available online, you will often find a full-text link within the database you are using.
  • If the full-text link is not there, you can copy and paste the title or an article in our library catalogue
  • If you still cannot locate it in the catalogue you can copy and paste the journal name in the library catalogue and the results should show you print or online holdings. 
  • If UofT does not own a copy of the article, UofT members can order it using our Interlibrary loan (ILL) service .

Understanding Journal Title Abbreviations

If you do not know what the abbreviation of a health science or medicine journal stands for, please type it in the NLM catalogue. For all other abbreviations, please check Ulrich's Periodicals

Index to Dental Literature (pre-1966)

This index, published in print format, is available at the Dentistry Library. It indexes dental literature from 1839 to 1999 (when it ceased publication). It is most often used to find pre-1966 articles (because Medline, the online index, begins in 1966).

If you need assistance using the Index to Dental Literature, please ask us.