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Michigan State University

MSU Program in Public Health: Finding Articles in Databases

General guide for resources useful to the MSU Program in Public Health.

Using Databases to Find Articles

The databases on this page are the major places to find scholarly articles on public health topics. Different databases work slightly differently, so watch the tutorial videos for help with each one! Also keep in mind that each database gives you access to a slightly different collection of journals, so some are better for some topics than others. Look at the description of the databases to decide which one will be best for your research topic. 

General Searching Tips and Tricks:

  • For any health-related topic, always start with PubMed
  • If you're not finding much, think about using synonyms to search--authors might have used a different term than the one you're using. You can connect a series of synonyms with OR. For example: (heart attack OR myocardial infarction)
  • Keep a record of which keywords you're using in which database. That way you won't end up doing the same search over and over again without realizing it. You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration this way!

The databases listed below are the best places to start a search for articles on public health topics. The library has other databases on specific public health topics, though. If you're not finding what you're looking for in the databases listed here, go to the Public Health databases list and read the descriptions to find a better database for your purposes. 


Searching PubMed

The tutorial below, created by the library at Drexel University, will show you how to search for articles using PubMed. Remember to access PubMed through the MSU Libraries webpage--otherwise you will not be able to get full text of most articles. 


EBSCO Databases

Searching EBSCO databases: 

CINAHL, Global Health, Health and Psychosocial Instruments, and the Health Policy Reference Center are all owned by the EBSCO company, and have the same search interface.



Getting Print Articles

If the article you need is only available in print, or if the library doesn't have it, go to the interlibrary services page. You can either request a scan of something MSU already owns in print, or something MSU doesn't have (ILL Services). In either case, someone will scan the article and send it to you via email. It usually only takes a few days.