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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. The video below shows you how to search in these databases. Note that when you click on the database links, though, you will start from the Search Options screen (the video starts at the Basic Search screen). 

Getting Print Articles

If the article you need is only available in print, you can have a copy emailed to you free through MSU's MARS system

If MSU does not subscribe to the journal you need, you can request a copy of the article through Inter-Library Loan

Finding Full Text Articles

Find the full-text electronically: 

Once you find an article in a database, you'll need to download the full text so you can read it. This video shows you how to access full text articles from MSU's databases.

If the article you need is not available electronically: 

Some articles are only available in print (usually this will be the case with older articles or articles from less popular journals). Sometimes MSU may not subscribe to the journal that printed the article you are looking for. In either case, you can still get the article! 

  1. If the article you need is only available in print, but MSU has it, you can have a copy emailed to you free through MSU's MARS system
  2. If MSU does not subscribe to the journal you need, you can request a copy of the article through Inter-Library Loan
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