Skip to Main Content

MBI 361 Hamilton: Finding Articles

Where to Search for Articles

MEDLINE is the best database to use for this assignment. This database contains research articles from over 5,000 medical journals and you can search to locate primary research articles about epidemiology.

Building a Search

The condition/disease

It is important to use both the proper medical terminology and the preferred language used in the library resources when searching for articles for this assignment. Find the medical term for the disease you are researching and use it in your searches. For example, include pertussis in a search about whooping cough. Your illness would appear in the top search box on the screen.


The question

The second search box should contain terms that address your research question (as listed in the "Literature Review Topic Proposal" assignment). Here are some keyword hints for each of the research questions:

  • If your question involves the causes/risk factors for a disease, add etiology in one of the search boxes.
  • If your question involves prevention of a disease, add control & prevention in one of the search boxes.
  • If your question involves screening or diagnostic tests, add diagnosis in one of the search boxes.
  • If your question involves effectiveness of a treatment, add treatment or therapy in one of the search boxes.

Pay attention to "&" and "or" in the recommended terms as these are important and your results will be very different if you leave them out or use the wrong one.

After you enter all of the search terms on both lines, change the drop down menu to the right to say MJ Word in Major Subject Heading as shown in the box below.


The type of study

Finally, add the type of study you want from the list of epidemiological studies in the Literature Review Topic Proposal assignment instructions on the third line.

The screenshot below is an example of what the boxes will look like after you have entered information for each of the sections above.

Screenshot showing search terms entered in the search boxes and dropdown menu changed to "MJ Word in Major Subject Heading."


Additional information about constructing searches is available on the "Before You Search" tab (to the left) of this guide.

Working with Your Search Results

Is it a primary research article?

Clicking on an article title in your results list opens a new page with more detailed information about that article. This includes an abstract, or summary, of the article. Reading the abstract is a quick way to determine whether the article is a primary research article or not. This type of article will have the following sections, often listed in the abstract:

  • Background or Introduction - Explains the reason for conducting the experiment.
  • Methods or Methodology - Describes in detail how the experiment was constructed.
  • Results - The raw data gained from the experiment. This section will contain statistics, tables, charts, or graphs.
  • Conclusions or Discussion - An interpretation of the results. What did the results show?

For this assignment, you may not use review articles including systematic and meta-analysis review articles. Be careful, in systematic reviews and meta-analyses, the researchers collect and analyze primary research so these types of reviews may include the same headings as a primary research article. You can often eliminate these types of reviews by looking for the terms "systematic" and "meta-analysis."

The image at the bottom of the page shows where to find the abstract on this page.


Finding full text

When you find an article that you want to use for the assignment, look in the top left corner of the screen for a link that says "Full Text."

Clicking that link will give you the full contents of the article rather than only the summary available on the current page. When there is no "Full Text" link in that corner, use the yellow "Find It!" button to search for the full text in other databases. See more about Find It! in the box to the right in this guide.

The image below shows where on the page you will find these links or the Find It! button.

What to Do with Your Articles

The vertical toolbar on the right side of the page gives you options for what to do with the article. There are icons to:
  • Save the article to your Google Drive. Be sure that you select "Open with Google Docs" when you open it in Drive or it will look like unreadable html code. Also, what you save will be the info available on the article abstract page, not the full text of the article. However, there should be a link back to the database page with the full text link in the Google Doc.
  • Print the article. This costs $.10/page at all Miami University printers. Additional information about printing at Miami University is available on this page.
  • Email the article to yourself. 
  • Get a citation for the article in various formats. Scroll to the format you are using (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.). Highlight, copy, and paste the article citation from this page into your paper. Some of the required formatting does not copy over correctly (hanging indent, sometimes italics, sometimes portions appear in all caps when they should not, etc.). You will need to manually correct these mistakes, so be sure to compare your pasted citations to some of the sample citations I linked to on the Citing Sources tab of this guide.
Screenshot of the detailed article screen in EBSCO

Use the Find It! Button

Some databases include the full text of the articles described in the them. However, most databases do not. When the database does not have the full text of an article, you should see a yellow Find It button like the one above. 

Clicking this button will search through other databases that Miami subscribes to looking for the full text. If a different database has it, you will see a link to it on the new tab that opens.

If there is no full text link on the new tab, you should see a link to a form for a service called interlibrary loan (ILL). If you fill out this form, the library will try to find the article from another library on your behalf. This can take several days, however, so if you need the article right away, it is not a good option for you.