Find research

If the summarised evidence sources haven’t provided the answer (maybe you are looking for information on a rare condition, a new drug or procedure being considered or simply that no one has yet summarised the existing evidence around a topic) you may need to turn to …

Primary research articles

These are reports of single research studies – often written up as journal articles but may also be found as conference abstracts or reports. They take many forms of research design ranging from randomised control trials through to case studies.

If you are conducting research early steps should include a thorough review of the literature to ensure the question hasn’t already been answered satisfactorily.

Most commonly these studies are located by searching bibliographic databases:

Healthcare Database Advanced Search

(aka HDAS ) provides a single search interface to a number of the major healthcare databases including:

AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine) | BNI (British Nursing Index) | CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) | EMBASE (General medical database) | Health Business Elite (Healthcare administration, institution management) |  HMIC (Health Management Information Consortium)| Medline (General medical database) | PsycINFO (Psychology and allied fields)| PubMed (General medical database)

We have a quick guide  and a full guide available to help with searching using the HDAS interface, however if you would like a one to one tutorial please contact us.

NHS Health Education England have created e-learning modules available on e-Learning for Healthcare at: – Literature Searching e-Learning Modules

There are also Youtube video tutorials available.

You will require an NHS OpenAthens login.

Other general clinical databases include:
  • DynaMed: Evidence-based content written by a world-class team of physicians who synthesise the evidence and provide objective analysis to help busy clinicians in their daily practice. Mobile app available.
  • TRIP database: TRIP contains over 500,000 controlled trials taken from PubMed and Mendeley.
  • Cochrane Library: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. This contains records of controlled trials from Medline and EMBASE, along with other published and unpublished trials.
  • PubMed
  • BMJ Case Reports
Subject specific databases available include:
  • PEDRo (Physiotherapy Evidence Database)  Provides details of randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy. Most trials have been rated for quality to discriminate between trials which are likely to be valid and interpretable and those which are not.
  • OT Seeker (Occupational therapy) Contains abstracts of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy. Trials have been critically appraised and rated to assist you to evaluate their validity and interpretability.
  • Campbell Collaboration   Contains details of studies produced in the fields of education, crime and justice and social welfare.


Ongoing Trials

Ongoing clinical trials can be located via a number of resources including:

  • Current Controlled Trials. Current Controlled Trials is a meta-register that contains records from over 20 registers in the UK and US, including the NHS Trusts Clinical Trials Register, and the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.
  • A  registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.
  • UK Clinical Trial Gateway
  • ISRCTN registry  The ISRCTN registry is a primary clinical trial registry recognised by WHO and ICMJE that accepts all clinical research studies (whether proposed, ongoing or completed).

Searching Effectively

To help you locate the information you need quickly and effectively, it is important that you plan your search and use the search tools provided by each database. We can provide help and training on all of the available databases.

NHS Health Education England have created e-learning modules available on e-Learning for Healthcare at: – Literature Searching e-Learning Modules

Below are short guides to help you get started:


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