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Gerstein Science Information Centre

Searching the Literature: A Guide to Comprehensive Searching in the Health Sciences

Students and researchers in the health sciences are often required to conduct comprehensive searches of the literature. Follow the steps in this guide to learn how this process works.

Citation Management

Comprehensive searches involve searching multiple databases, which results in a significant number of duplicated references (dupes). Remember that dupes are a necessary result of any sensitive search: no dupes = high risk of missing important articles. So, how will you organize all these references, remove duplicates, prepare your citations, and format your final paper? Use a citation manager. 

To learn more about citation management and pick the right software option for you, go here:

Clicking this link will open a new window in your browser. 

What do Gerstein Librarians Recommend?

If you are a researcher undertaking a systematic or scoping review and are dealing with large numbers of citations, Gerstein librarians recommend any DESKTOP-BASED reference management software, for ex: Endnote Desktop, Mendeley, Papers, or Reference Manager. A web-based citation manager (ex: RefWorks) will be more difficult to work with as it cannot import high numbers of references at the same time.  

If you have already dedicated time and effort to learn a particular program and are happy with it, we say love the one you're with!