Posts tagged: advanced search

Peer Review. What’s it all about?

29 October 2014

You may see or have been told to look for journals and journal articles  which are ‘peer reviewed’. But what does that mean? Peer review, also known as refereeing, is a collaborative process that means articles submitted to a to a journal are evaluated and by independent experts within the same field of research- their ‘peers’.

They evaluate and assess articles and provide authors with feedback to improve their work and provides valuable information to the editor to assess the paper’s suitability for publication in the journal.

Peer review can help to alert authors of any gaps in their research and also should ensure their work is original and meets any relevant ethics standards.

Many databases (such as Academic Search Premier) do give you a way to limit your results to peer –reviewed journals whereas others, (such as Medline) don’t need to as the majority (99%) of their articles are always peer reviewed.


SOLAR often indicates it like this:

peer review




If you would like to know more about peer review, watch this short video extract with the lovely Brian Cox- you will need to log in to view this with your network username and password:

Getting the most out of Construction Information Service

8 July 2014

Construction Information Service (CIS) is a database which covers a large range of  information relevant to the construction industry in the UK.   CIS has full-text access to current regulations, standards and industry news for architects, designers, engineers, quantity surveyors and health and safety staff.  It includes resources such as legislative and compliance regulations, British Standards, JCT contracts and CIBSE documents.


You can search a number of different ways:

  • Use the tabs across the top and search by subject, publisher or series
  • Do a basic search using the search box on the front screen
  • Do a more detailed search using Advanced search

You can also check out the New Legislation tab for any new or amended legislation.  The Sustainability tab is also useful for resources on green construction and sustainable development planning.

CIS can be accessed both on and off-campus and there is a user guide which shows you how to access it here:  For further help, there is a help section in the database which shows you how to use it.  You can also contact your Academic Support Librarian for help.

Linking Google Scholar to find full-text articles off-campus

24 June 2014

Google Scholar allows you to search across scholarly literature indexed by Google. Links to the Find It menu are available to help you access the resources in the Google Scholar results.
To access Google Scholar, go to

Using Google Scholar off campus
If you are using Google Scholar off campus you will need to configure Google Scholar preferences to display the Find It @ Salford links.

To do this:
• Go to Google Scholar
• Click on the Settings link
• Click on Library Links
• Search for ‘Salford’
• Check the box next to ‘University of Salford – Find It @ Salford’
• Click on ‘Save’

You will then see this screenscholar when you next search for articles in Google Scholar- if we have it available full-text electronically:



Clicking the ‘Find-it@Salford’ link will then take you the suppliers page where you may have to sign-in using your Network username and password.



Finding information on clinical topics

23 June 2014

NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries
Are you looking for reliable, evidence-based information about medical conditions? NICE CKS service provides health care practitioners with a readily accessible summary of the current evidence base and practical guidance on best practice in respect of over 300 common and/or significant primary care presentations.
To use this service, go to and either browse the list of conditions or search for one you’re interested in.
The topics are broken down into areas such as diagnosis, management, evidence and also indicates how up-to-date the information is. It also provides links to systematic reviews and randomized control trials on the subject.


Using MeSH headings in health searches

19 June 2014


MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings. These headings were developed by the National Library of Medicine and are a list of key terms and phrases known as a ‘controlled vocabulary’. Databases such as Medline and the Cochrane Library allow the use of MeSH as a search tool.

The basic principle behind MeSH is that it defines the key words / phrases within medicine in a structured way.


mesh eg




These headings are organised into ‘trees’ – starting with big general terms, branching off into smaller more specific ones.




MeSH uses synonyms and related terms to link you to the most appropriate heading. By entering your keyword you may find terms you had not considered or were not even aware of. Each article indexed by Medline is assigned up to 20 headings by independent indexers.


You can access MeSH headings when searching the Medline database. Other databases make use of similar systems – CINAHL has a Subject Headings option which is very similar to MeSH.

If you would like to know more then why not view our more detailed presentation about MeSH headings

To get help and support using MeSH headings as part of your search in health and social care contact your subject librarian.


Google’s hidden depths: getting the most out of Google

21 May 2014

Did you know Google Advanced Search allows you to refine and narrow your search?

Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of Google.

To access the Advanced Search you can go to:

You will be presented with this search screen:

Google 1

The “all of these words” box is the default searching option and is very similar to the normal Google search. Google will search for all of these words appearing anywhere in the document, not necessarily together. This search will often bring back a very large number of results.


The “exact word or phrase” box is the equivalent of a phrase search, so Google will surround those words with quotation marks and will only search for those exact words in the exact order you have put them in. So a search for “women and work” would not necessarily bring back results with “work and women” as a phrase.


The “any of these words” box allows you to search for words with similar meanings. So for example, if you wanted to search for “women and work” OR “women and employment” OR “women and labour” then you can do this in one search. See below:


The “none of these words” box allows you to exclude certain words from your search. So if you were interested in “women and work” as a topic, but specifically wanted to exclude information about American women then you could put “America” in the box, which would exclude results related to “America”.


Once you are happy with your search terms then you can also use the “Narrow your results by” functions. This allows you to filter your results further.

So for example, you can limit your results to a particular region or language. You can also specify where the search terms appear in the document using the “terms appearing” box, so you can specify that the terms appear “anywhere in the page” or “in the title of the page”.

The “site or domain” function is particularly useful as you can limit your search to only government websites (.gov) or British academic websites ( or organisational websites (.org). Any site with (.com) in the URL is a commercial site and so be aware of any potential bias in the information presented.

So if you wanted to search for information about “women and work” on British academic websites only, we would include this information in the “site or domain” box as below:


Please note: Google is NOT a substitute for using library resources, but it is useful for accessing organisational websites, statistical and government websites, industry news websites, parliamentary publications and stock market data. As with any information you find on the internet, always exert your judgement when evaluating how useful information will be for your academic assignments.