Step One: Organize the Process
Being organized is extremely important! Take time to think about how you will organize your information before you get too far into it. Here are some things you'll need to keep track of:
- Your thoughts
- Use Word documents or a note-taking software like Evernote or OneNote to keep track of your research thoughts and questions.
- Your live search strategies
- Most databases let you save searches - make use of that whenever possible to allow for easy recovery, further development, and auto-alerts of new materials.
- Your search strategies for reporting
- Capturing your search strategies in image (screenshot) and text form makes reporting your methodology easy when it's time to write your manuscript, as well as giving you an easy way to see your search at a glance. Word documents or Excel spreadsheets are a good way to store text.
- Your articles
- Use a citation manager! More information below.
Citation Management Tools
Citation managers are software packages used to create personalized databases of citation information and notes. They allow you to import and organize citation information from article indexes and other sources; save pdfs and other documents; and format citations for your papers and bibliographies using APA and many other styles. include your own notes.
- Mendeley is a freely available citation manager that helps you manage your PDF collections. It is the recommended starting point when choosing a reference manager.
Step Two: Find Information
- Ovid MEDLINESearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Ovid MEDLINE is optimized for advanced literature searches. Coverage is from the 1940s to the present.
Help resources for Ovid MEDLINE
Literature Searching in Ovid Medline Tutorial Series: Learn about literature searching in Ovid Medline including how to use MeSH headings and keywords, how to limit a search, how to find full text and how to save a search.
- PubMedSearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Coverage is from the 1940s to the present. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- Embase / Embase ClassicEmbase is a biomedical and pharmacological database covering journal articles, conference proceedings, and gray literature. It is strong in its coverage of pharmaceutical research and international and non-English content. Covers 1947 to present.
- CINAHL (Nursing & Allied Health)Covers nursing and allied health journal articles, book chapters, and dissertations, as well as providing summarized evidence-based resources such as care sheets and quick lessons.
- APA PsycInfoFind articles in thousands of psychology journals, from 1806 to current. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- ScopusSearch for information from scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. Covers the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities.
- Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI)Find surveys, tests, observation checklists, and questionnaires used to assess health and behavior of infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Topics covered include public health, communication, psychology, management, nursing, organizational behavior, medicine, sociology, physical education, psychiatry, human resources, gerontology and dental medicine. Includes information about the test such as title, author, publication resource, reliability and validity. Note: One users can access at a time.
- Experts@MinnesotaUse Experts@Minnesota to search profiles of University of Minnesota faculty and research staff by collegiate or department, research interests and their publications. Find potential collaborators, learn about the expertise of our faculty and research staff, and about funding sources received by other researchers.
- All subject guidesListing of all subject guides from the University Libraries
Step Three: Manage Information
- Develop consistent documentation strategies to describe your entire process, the outcomes, and all decisions made
- Consider whether part (or all) of the ALCOA standards are useful for your work
- Use a file naming convention
- Don't rely on nesting in folders
- Be descriptive (files have a 255 character limit)
- Use numerical dates
- Avoid file names with uppercase letters, special characters, or spaces between words
- Use a consistent structure that will fall into a useful order for sorting
- List versions alphanumerically
- Develop a shallow folder structure that allows you to avoid duplicating files
- Back everything up! Remember the 3-2-1 rule
- 3 copies of your work on 2 different storage devices, at least 1 of which is off-site
- Depending on the type of data you're working with, consider special requirements (e.g., HIPAA data, PHI or PII).
Other Pieces To Consider
- Tutorial: Enhancing your online academic identityLearn how to investigate, improve, and maintain your online academic identity.
- Journal Citation Reports: JCR (InCites)Journal Citation Reports helps you evaluate and compare scholarly and technical journals. JCR Science Edition contains data about more than 8,000 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data about more than 2,600 journals in the social sciences. Includes the Impact Factor for these journals.
- Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE)Have you recently written a paper, but you're not sure to which journal you should submit it? Or maybe you want to find relevant articles to cite in your paper? Or are you an editor, and do you need to find reviewers for a particular paper? Jane can help! Just enter the title and/or abstract of the paper in the box, and click on 'Find journals', 'Find authors' or 'Find Articles'. Jane will then compare your document to millions of documents in PubMed to find the best matching journals, authors or articles.