Best Bets

SCENARIO: You need a comprehensive summary of the available evidence (research) on a topic.

If you need a quick view of research on a topic, PubMed and PubMed Clinical Queries are excellent options for filtering down to specific study types (systematic reviews and meta-analyses) that summarize and appraise research. 

In PubMed, you can filter results for Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analyses, and other types of reviews (including the general Review filter for literature reviews). 

In PubMed Clinical Queries, you can enter your search and refine by clinical question type (therapy, prognosis, diagnosis, etiology, etc.) to view results for your question and view systematic reviews relating to it on the same page. 

Other options are searching Annual Reviews for a comprehensive update on the research. 

  • Recent Annual Reviews on a specific topic or sub-topic may not be available

SCENARIO: You need to be alerted when new research is published on a topic

Saved searches are available in any major database, including

Saved searches means that the database will automatically email you when there are new articles that match a saved search, meaning that if the article had been published at the time you ran your search, it would have turned up in the search results. This is a great option for broad or narrow topics. 

If you need help setting up a search or saved search, contact your librarian

SCENARIO: You need someone to recommend articles to you based on what you read / are interested in

Mendeley is a citation manager that offers a feature that will recommend articles based on articles saved in your Mendeley library.

PubMed and ScienceDirect both offer "similar articles" features for articles on their platforms.

Web of Science's Cited By feature lets you look up an article in Web of Science and then see who else has cited the article as a part of their research.

Locate one of your useful articles in PubMed or Web of Science. Look at the keywords and subject headings (not available in Web of Science; available as MeSH in PubMed) for your article and set up a saved search to reflect articles with those words and headings.

Subscribe to electronic table of contents for journals in your area of interest. You will receive an email and be able to read the titles/abstracts of articles published in each new issue. If CSU does not subscribe to the journal, request the articles you want to read fully via Interlibrary Loan

SCENARIO: You need basic information about what something is, where it is located, etc.

This is where encyclopedias and Science Direct Topics can come in handy. Searching for your topic in any of these will give you basic information about them, vocabulary to know if you want to search for more research about them, and a list of references to give you a starting point for your research. 


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