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Dental Medicine: Research Tips

An instructional pathfinder to researching for HPD Dental Medicine students and faculty

Search other recommended databases

Your Liaison Librarian also recommends:

For a more comprehensive list of available library subscription databases, please see the 2 links to all HPD and NSU databases below.

Wolfram/Alpha Search

My Folder

Every database has this option:

Setup an Account or Folder on each database you search.

  • Create an account or register
  • Hint: use your nova email username, password for this account to help you remember the login information
  • Add articles to your folder
  • Retrieve later from any computer
  • Save your searches


EBSCOhost databases:

  • Choose Sign In to create your account.


  • Choose My NCBI to create your account.

What about searching for psychological, sociological, legal or economical aspects of a topic?

1. Try using one of the Brainstorming visual aids to help map your topic.

2. Use NSU Databases to find articles related to your subject such as Education or Psychology databases.


EndNote is a software application that is free to all NSU students, faculty and staff.

Why use Endnote?

  • Import your references directly into Endnote from the library's databases
  • Store and organize your references in Endnote
  • Insert citations from Endnote into a word document as you write
  • Format your citations and bibliographies using a variety of bibliographic styles

How to download EndNote.

Subject Searching vs Keyword Searching

Subject searching:

  • Searches by topic or subject

  • In PubMed & MEDLINE it's called MeSH.  In Embase it's Emtree, and CINAHL uses CINAHL Headings, but they all work pretty much the same
    • ​Each article is cataloged according to what it is about, and
    • the same term is used every time, no matter what words the author used, so that
    • you don't need to think of all the synonyms
  • Precise searching - fewer off topic results

Keyword searching (the default in most databases) :

  • Search terms in the article title or abstract
  • Only looks to see if a word is found, not at the meaning or context
  • You'll need to try different variations and synonyms
  • Likely to return more off-topic results
  • Broader searching - works well for topics that don't have MeSH (etc.) terms yet
  • Useful for finding very new articles that haven't been cataloged yet.

​Try mixing both approaches.

Getting Started...

Give your self plenty of time - in depth searching is not the same as googling 


To Find:

  • Articles:
    • Search HPD Library databases online
    • Use the Full Text Finder if you have a citation and need to get the full text. (Instructions)

      ---Use the HPD Library Catalog to locate print and e-journals

Plan your strategy:

Read background information to find search terms:

  • Look up your topic in a medical dictionary, UpToDate,  or use the Credo Reference database and its concept mapping feature to find search terms
  • Find a book, ebook or journal with background information using the HPD Library Catalog
  • Browse the HPD Library book shelves by call number to find information about your subject

Identify search terms:

  • Have a clear idea of the clinical question that you want to answer, using the PICO method or similar methods 
  • Plan a keyword search OR
  • Plan a MeSH (subject) search or any combo

Librarian tips:

  • Use one word for each search box for databases that offer multiple boxes
  • Enter dental or dent* into one of the search boxes if you're getting too many non-dental results (like cochlear implants) 
  • Try truncation.  For example: dent* will look for all keywords starting with dent - like dental, dentistry, dentist, dentifrice...)
  • Phrase searching by putting words in quotes, such as "dental implants," works in some databases, but not in others

Selecting your articles:

  • Look at the subjects listed for each article as well as the article titles to make your selection
  • Use the subjects from helpful articles to find additional 
  • Articles may not "match" your search; they will contain elements of what you need that you will later combine
  • Choose articles based on how they apply to your topic instead of matching your topic exactly - you rarely find the 'perfect' article

Ask your librarian for help at the BEGINNING of the research process!

Use MeSH to Build a Better PubMed Query

Tutorial - Searching Drugs or Chemicals in PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

This tutorial provides an excellent set of tips to help you effectively search PubMed for drugs, chemicals, and other substances.

5 Common researching mistakes

1. Looking for ARTICLE titles that exactly match your topic.

  • You will miss important articles
  • Look at the SUBJECTS listed for your article
  • Articles related to your topic will have data you can use

2. Search terms are too narrow or too broad.

  • If your result list is too short, try broadening your topic. For example: change from Invisalign to dental appliances
  • If your result list is over 1,000 articles, limit your search by date, subject or other factors

3. Missing citation pearls.

  • If you find an excellent article, select the author or subject links to find more like it.
  • If a subject link has a slash indicating a subject heading and its subheading, click on the subheading. Example: Dentist-Patient Relations/ Informed Consent - click on Informed Consent

4. Forgetting to save searches that produce great results for use later

  • You can rerun your searches and uncover newer articles during your research time period
  • You may change the direction of your search and need to remember how you found your original articles

5. Keep your topic general until you've done some background searching.

  • It is easier to pick your points after seeing what information exists in the literature
  • If you narrow your topic before researching too much, you may have difficulty finding the information

Learn to read a Citation:


J Prosthet Dent. 2010 May;103(5):321-2.
Antimicrobial filling of implant cavities.
Kern M, Harder S.

Journal title:  Journal of prosthetic dentistry
(look up the abbreviation in PubMed Journals database)

Date: May 2010

Volume: 103

Issue: 5

Pages: 321-322

Authors: Kern M and Harder S

Article title: Antimicrobial filling of implant cavities

Submit your NSU Thesis - Instructions

Peer Review

Articles that are published in peer-reviewed or refereed journals are recognized as scholarly contributions to their academic or medical field. You can identify peer-reviewed journals by searching for the journal title in Ulrich's Periodical Directory.

Finding Dissertations

Martin and Gail Press HPD Library Catalog

Search the HPD Library Collection for Books, eBooks, Print Journals:
Search the e-Book Collection only:

Brainstorming & Concept mapping

Brainstorming your topic will give you more search term ideas.

Here are 5 visual aids to concept mapping:


Browse the Book Shelves by Subject