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Health Professions Education for Doctoral Students: Articles on Your topic

This guide is designed to assist HPED doctoral students in their research and dissertations.

Searching the Literature

The resources on this page are designed to help you find journal articles and other types of sources for research projects.  You'll also find search strategies to help you find the best sources for your topic.

Interactive CINAHL tutorial

Not sure where to start?  This interactive tutorial will walk you through how to search for articles.

Keyword Search Strategies

Brainstorming Keywords

Start by by thinking about the main ideas that are related to your topic.  The PICO format (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) can help you think about these concepts.

Consider using synonyms of your keywords to help find even more information. For example, if you are looking for articles about the benefits of exercise for patients with heart disease, you might start with the keywords and synonyms below:

Keyword Synonym 1 Synonym 2
heart disease cardiovascular disease  
exercise fitness physical activity

Searching for Keywords

Creating a grid like the one above can also help you enter your keywords when you're searching in the databases.  

Put each distinct concept (heart disease, exercise) on a separate line with AND in between.  This will give you results that mention both of these concepts, rather than just one or the other.

Then add each set of synonyms to the same line and type the word "or" in between.  

For the keywords in the example above, your search boxes would look something like this:

Search for heart disease or cardiovascular disease AND exercise or fitness or physical activity

Citation Searching

Did you know?

Screenshot of Cited By link in Google Scholar

When you find a relevant article, you can use resources like Google Scholar and Scopus to see other articles that have cited the original one.

Check out the Searching Citation Indices guide for more information about citation searching.

PDF vs. Find Full-Text

When you're looking at search results in a database you're going to see a few different ways to get to the full article, usually either...

 or  Find Full-Text green button

Both of these will take you to the article (if we have access).

If you see the Access Options screen below, it means we don't have full-text access to the article.  Try Google Scholar first to see if it's available for free.  If not, click Request via Interlibrary Loan.  We'll get the article for you from another library, usually within a few days.

By Topic

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Natural Sciences




Social Sciences


Social Work

Link Google Scholar to Simmons Library Resources


Google works with libraries to determine which journals and papers they've subscribed to electronically, and then links to articles from those sources when they're available. Once you configure the Library Links settings in Google Scholar, links to the full text of articles will display in your Google Scholar results when they are available through Simmons Library.

Use Google Scholar From On-Campus

      To make these links appear, just access Google Scholar from any Simmons computer and the links will automatically be included.

Configure Google Scholar From Off-Campus

  1. Click on Settings link in the upper right corner of Google Scholar.
  2. Choose "Library Links" on the left, type Simmons Library and click the "Search" button.
  3. If prompted, check "Simmons College - Check Simmons Full Text"  from the list of results.
  4. Click the blue "Save" button.
  5. Start searching Google Scholar with links to our library's resources (you may need to log in to access these resources).