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Study Skills

General study skills

Literature searching

----- Search strategy

----- Searching HDAS (NHS Evidence: Healthcare Databases Advanced Search)

----- Information Sources

----- Information Sources help guides

Academic writing

Reflective writing

Plagiarism and copyright

Referencing

----- How to reference

----- Free referencing software

Presentations

Posters

Critical Appraisal

Other


If you have any suggestions for useful resources we might have missed or comments about the resources here, please get in touch: library@uhbristol.nhs.uk.

We run training sessions on Literature Searching, Information Sources, Critical Appraisal, Medical Statistics, and Reflective Writing for Nurse Revalidation. For more information, visit our Training webpage, or email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to book a group or one-to-one session.

 

General study skills

The resources in this section cover a range of study skills relevant to healthcare research and assignments.

Skills for Study (Open University)
Advice on study skills, learning styles, exam technique, and IT

Study Skills Resources (UCL)
Comprehensive site for study skills

Study Skills Apps (University of Sussex)

Huge list of relevant apps to help with study

 

Literature searching

 

Literature searching (The Library, University Hospitals Bristol)
Slides for the Literature Searching training session offered by the UHB Library. Email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange a session.

 

Search strategy

It is vital to construct an effective search strategy in order to retrieve quality search results. You will need to make sure you have a focused research question, think about your key terms (the PICO search strategy will help you here), then turn these terms into a search strategy. It is worth spending time on this part of your research as it will save a lot of effort later on.

For more in-depth training in literature searching, come along to one of our lunchtime drop-in Literature Searching sessions. We can also carry out literature searches on your behalf or as a one-to-one with you - email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange this.

Finding the Evidence: Using PICO to formulate a search question (Centre for Evidence Based Medicine)
Video tutorial on how to use the PICO search strategy

Finding the Evidence: Turning search terms into a search strategy (Centre for Evidence Based Medicine)
Video tutorial on turning search terms into a search strategy

Research Guidance (Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries)
A detailed guide to literature searching for health research

LIHNN Literature Searching MOOC (Library and Information Health Network North West)
Fantastic online course covering all aspects of literature searching (now archived, but the content is still accessible)

 

Searching HDAS (NHS Evidence: Healthcare Databases Advanced Search)

The Healthcare Databases Advanced Search, part of the NHS Evidence suite, allows literature searching across eight key healthcare databases, including Medline, Embase and CINAHL. It covers a vast wealth of authoritative journals and includes articles, book chapters, conference abstracts, theses and other information sources.

To access HDAS, you will need an Athens login (register if needed here - for any issues, please see our Athens FAQ section).

For more in-depth training in using HDAS, come along to one of our lunchtime drop-in Literature Searching sessions, or book a one-to-one session with a Librarian by emailing library@uhbristol.nhs.uk.

Please see below for useful training videos

Doing a basic search

https://youtu.be/B9cLu8l2kSs?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

How to Lower Search Panel

https://youtu.be/GNsvaIdrlj0?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Accessing the Thesaurus

https://youtu.be/uL1erPjUaZ8?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Building thesaurus searches

https://youtu.be/QWzHcC1Jb4Q?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Using Fields

https://youtu.be/dljRXL0axZs?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Applying Limits

https://youtu.be/UuvWbYQUfAU?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Combining Search Rows

https://youtu.be/eiy_n7UWjH0?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Rerunning a search

https://youtu.be/nBc_vLJ0Ud8?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Copying Rows

https://youtu.be/AF7qgiM0hWU?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Editing search rows

https://youtu.be/wDiAo457kS4?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Deleting Search Rows

https://youtu.be/KUjqdXDjLYk?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Reordering Search Rows

https://youtu.be/9BgLaWEbi0s?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Saving a Search Strategy

https://youtu.be/wE3KvrVDJ_s?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Results Display Options

https://youtu.be/JMwcmRE5kro?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Saving Results

https://youtu.be/4W369IV1nmc?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Deduplication

https://youtu.be/51L7gLo_frw?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Exporting Results

https://youtu.be/vqKVYdJFOxM?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Creating Alerts

https://youtu.be/OrUziEtDcRk?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Editing and deleting Alerts

https://youtu.be/NOl77n7ly-Y?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Saved Results

https://youtu.be/611xjCGmoUk?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

My Search Strategies

https://youtu.be/LBp4rKtaJDc?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Deleting saved strategies

https://youtu.be/jxxFFzE2y1k?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

Cloning a search strategy

https://youtu.be/nP8ln3NhPDQ?list=PLRbwbc3dfXUO3IYIun-5ICK-Q059JXtgk

 

 

Information Sources

Below is an extensive list of information resources for health and medicine research. Some resources are freely available, but others are subscription resources and so will require Athens login details (register if needed here - for any issues, please see our Athens FAQ section).

For a more in-depth overview of how to make the most of these resources, come along to one of our lunchtime drop-in Information Sources sessions.

SWIMS
Library catalogue for all NHS Libraries in the South West

UpToDate Athens login details required
The leading evidence-based clinical decision support system

Clinical Skills Athens login details required
A vital reference tool for clinical skills procedures

NHS Evidence: HDAS Athens login details required
The Healthcare Databases Advanced Search allows literature searching across eight key healthcare databases

PubMed
Database mostly covering Medline - HDAS has much more comprehensive coverage

BNF / BNF for Children
Brings together authoritative, independent guidance and information about drugs

Cochrane Library
Extremely thorough, authoritative, independent systematic reviews

ClinicalTrials.gov
The largest clinical trials database

WHO Registry Platform
Searches across a number of international registries from various countries and continents

EThOS
The UK's national thesis service

DART-Europe
A portal for discovery of European Electronic Theses and Dissertations

NICE Guidance
NICE national guidance and advice

NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries
Practical guidance on best practice for over 330 common and/or significant primary care presentations

Life in the Fast Lane
Hub for open access medical resources (FOAM: Free Open Access Meducation)

 

Information Sources help guides

Information Sources (The Library, University Hospitals Bristol)
Slides for the Information Sources training session offered by the UHB Library. Email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange a session.

Grey Matters (CADTH: Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health)
An extensive list of grey literature sources - invaluable for systematic reviews

ScHARR Research Hacks  (Sheffield University School of Health and Related Research)
Short videos on how to use emerging technologies in health research

Oxford Medicine Online: a guide to the features and functionality (Oxford Medicine Online)
Tutorial demonstrating the key features of Oxford Medicine Online

PubMed Tutorial

PubMed for nurses

How to use the Cochrane Library  (Cochrane Library)
Guides, webinars and tutorials on how to get the most out of the Cochrane Library

 

Academic writing

Academic writing follows a set of formal rules to ensure that your understanding of a topic, as well as your own opinions and ideas relating to that topic, are conveyed in a clear, structured and unambiguous manner. You also need to ensure that you understand clear referencing to demonstrate your understanding of copyright law and plagiarism.

Academic Writing (University of Leeds)
A comprehensive overview of academic writing

Tips for Academic Writing and other Formal Writing (Dr. James A. Bednar)
Useful tips for academic writing

Journal of Academic Writing
An international, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the teaching, tutoring, researching, administration and development of academic writing in higher education.

'Basic Conventions of Academic Writing' (Alex Osmond)
Book chapter from Academic Writing and Grammar for Students (Sage, 2015)

Study Guides: Writing (Birmingham City University)
Study Guide and practice exercises on academic writing style

 

Reflective writing

Reflective writing is writing that explores practice-based experience and leads to learning and personal development. It typically involves describing an experience and your actions, reflecting on what went well and what did not, and discussing what you learned from the experience and what you would do differently next time. It can be useful to use and existing model of reflection, such as Gibbs' Reflective Cycle, or you could just follow the general advice in the resources listed below.

The Library offers an hour-long training session on Reflective Writing. Email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange a one-to-one or group session.

Reflective Writing for Nurse Revalidation (The Library, University Hospitals Bristol)
Slides for the Reflective Writing training session offered by the UHB Library, shaped around the requirements for NMC Revalidation. Email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange a session.

Reflective Writing (University of the West of England)
A useful overview of reflective writing

Using Gibbs' Reflective Cycle in Coursework (Peter Lia, KCL)
Overview of Gibbs' Reflective Cycle

How to write reflectively (D. G. Anderson)
Guide to reflective writing

A Short Guide to Reflective Writing (University of Birmingham)
Guide to reflective writing

Introduction to Reflection and Reflective Writing (University of Surrey)
PowerPoint slides covering the fundamental elements of reflective writing

Reflective Writing (University of Leeds)
Short e-learning module on reflective writing

Using Gibbs (Oxford Brookes University)
Nursing example of reflective writing

University Hospitals Bristol Library books:
Reflective practice: writing and professional development, Gillie Bolton, 3rd ed (2010)

 

 

Plagiarism and copyright

"Plagiarism is presenting someone else's work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional. Under the regulations for examinations, intentional or reckless plagiarism is a disciplinary offence"
http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism

"Copyrightis one of the main types of intellectual property - others include designs, patents and trademarks.  Intellectual property allows a person to own things they create in the same way as something physical can be owned. It is the right to prevent others copying or reproducing someone's work. The main legislation dealing with copyright in the United Kingdom is the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988."
http://www.cla.co.uk/copyright_information/copyright_information

Recognising plagiarism (University of Leeds)
Activity: identifying plagiarism

You be the judge (University of Leeds)
Activity: identifying plagiarism

Plagiarism (University of the West of England)
Online advice and tutorials relating to plagiarism and academic integrity

Plagiarism (University of Bristol)
Plagiarism: information and advice

Copyright Information (Copyright Licensing Agency)
Clear overview of UK copyright law

University Hospitals Bristol Library books:
Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, Richard Pears, Graham Shields, 8th ed (2010)

 

Referencing

If you use someone else's words or ideas in a piece of work, you must reference them. This acknowledges that person's words and ideas, and avoids plagiarism.

Referencing usually involves providing information about the source both within the text and in a reference list / bibliography. There are different referencing styles, so check which one you should be using and be consistent.

How to reference


Referencing (University of Leeds)
A guide to different referencing styles

Referencing made easy… (Queen's University Belfast)
Referencing guide

Introduction to the Vancouver Style (Farley Library, Wilkes University)
Clear and comprehensive guide to Vancouver referencing

University Hospitals Bristol Library books:
Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, Richard Pears, Graham Shields, 8th ed (2010)

 

Free referencing software

Search results can be exported from NHS Evidence Advanced Search to all of these reference managers. Just save your results as a RIS file, then upload them into your chosen reference manager.

RefME
Web-based. Very easy to set up and use.

Mendeley
Requires installation. Lots of useful functions.

Zotero
Requires installation. In addition to citations, it can also be used to store files and take notes.

 

Posters

Research posters are used to summarise information in a concise and attractive way. They are used widely in the academic community, and poster presentations are a key part of conferences and clinical audit showcases.

These resources are helpful guides for planning and designing effective posters.

Designing a poster (University of Leicester)
A useful guide to poster presentations

How to create a Research Poster (NYU Libraries)
Concise guide to creating a research poster, including an overview of software you can use

 

Presentations

Presentations are a fundamental part of professional and academic life. These resources provide useful tips and guidance on how to prepare and deliver a presentation.

There are also resources focusing specifically on Journal Club management and presentations. The Librarians are happy to assist anyone wishing to set up a journal club within their department - email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk if you might be interested in this support.

Tips on making presentations (University of Kent)
Comprehensive tips on how to prepare and deliver a presentation (designed for interviews, but applicable to much wider contexts)

Present like a pro (University of Manchester)
E-learning module on preparing for a presentation

Presentations (University of Leeds)
Tutorial on preparing to present

Journal Clubs (British Medical Journal)
Advice on journal club management

Journal Club tips (Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia)
Useful tips for journal club presentations

 

Critical Appraisal

Critical Appraisal is the assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of research methodology. It involves systematically examining a piece of research to judge how trustworthy it is, as well as how relevant and useful it is in the given context.

The Library offers hour-long Critical Appraisal training sessions. You can either come along to one of our lunchtime drop-in sessions, or email library@uhbristol.nhs.uk to arrange a one-to-one or group session.

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme
Introduction to the critical appraisal process, with checklists for appraising papers tailored to the study design (RCT, cohort study etc.)

EBM Resources (Centre for Evidence Based Medicine)
Tools for searching the and appraising the evidence base

Bandolier Glossary (Bandolier)
Fantastic evidence based medicine glossary

Statistics Basics (For Dummies)
Short introductions to a variety of statistics topics

Sketchy EBM
Fun YouTube videos explaining a range of critical appraisal topics

University Hospitals Bristol Library books: See classmark WB 20

 

Other

How to write surveys (Mantex)
Guidance on how to write and carry out a survey

Note-taking (University of Leeds)
Tutorial on how to take notes

Assignment Survival Kit (University of Kent)
Includes and assignment calculator and planner, and useful links