Guide to Research and Referencing


Getting started Literature searching Healthcare and medical databases Finding grey literature
Literature reviews Systematic reviews Evidence-based medicine PICO framework
Critical appraisal Case studies Clinical audits  
Writing and referencing resources EndNote Remote Access  


Getting started

[Guide/PDF] CM Health Library Research Guide [pdf] via CMDHB Health Library

A key guide to help you get started in research including key information on healthcare and evidence-based resources and databases available to CMDHB Health Library users.


[Guide/PDF] Using research evidence: A practical guide via NESTA  

This UK guide (Breckon, 2016) covers evidence-informed decision making, how to select the best evidence and how to communicate your findings.           


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials via The Yale University Library

Yale University Library’s Cushing/Whitney Medical Library presents a range of tutorials around using specialised research databases, managing citations, and engaging in systematic searching through an evidence-based practice lens.


Literature searching


[Guide/PDF]  A guide to literature searching via CMDHB Health Library

This library guide outlines advanced searching methods in Ovid databases (eg: MedLine, EmBase, PsycINFO and AMED).

[eBook] Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide. Aveyard, H. (2010)

[Book] The literature review: six steps to success. Machi, L (2016)

[Article]  A systematic approach to searching: An efficient and complete method to develop literature searches. Bramer, W.M., de Jonge, G.B., Rethlefsen, M.L., Mast, F., & Kleijnen, J. (2018). Journal of the Medical Library Association 106(4):53.

How to create a search strategy balancing sensitivity/specificity and translate search syntax between health science databases.


[Article]  Searching the Literature: A researcher's perspective. Czaplewski, L.M. (2012). Journal of Infusion Nursing 35(1):20-26.

Key definitions, databases and limiters related to the literature search process as well as sources of evidence-based literature.


[Article] Reviewing the literature: choosing a review designNoble H, Smith J. Evidence-Based Nursing 2018;21:39-41.


[Article] Review Typology: The Basic Types of Reviews for Synthesizing Evidence for the Purpose of Knowledge Translation. Samnani SS, Vaska M, Ahmed S, Turin TC. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2017 Oct;27(10):635-641.


[Article] A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Grant MJ, Booth A. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108.


[Article]  Retrieving clinical evidence: A comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar for quick clinical searches. Shariff, S.Z., Bejaimal, S.A., Sontrop, J.M., Lansavichus, A.V., Haynes, R.B., Weir, M.A., & Garg, A.X. (2013). Journal of medical Internet research 15(8): e164.

Google Scholar returned twice as many relevant articles as PubMed and provided greater access to free full-text articles for quick clinical searches in this study.


[Article]  How to...carry out a literature search. Morris, N. (2010). Education for Primary Care, 21(2), 124-125.

Article focussing on the basics of literature searching.


[eBook]  Searching skills toolkit: Finding the evidence. (De Brún, N. & Pearce-Smith, C. 2014)

Covers building a search strategy, searching healthcare databases, using validated filters, carrying out snowball searching, appraising information and sourcing resources on quality improvement.


[Tutorials] Cushing/Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials > Subjects > Systematic searches (via The Yale University Library)

The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library video tutorials on systematic searching are freely accessible to the public and include how to build a search strategy, how to use validated filters and how to refine searches.


[Tutorials]  Literature searching

These learning modules are part of the e-LfH programme developed by Health Education England in partnership with the NHS (UK).


[Toolkit]  NIH: US National Library of Medicine: MeSH OnDemand

This machine-reading online application generates MeSH terms from submitted text representing a useful tool for brainstorming search vocabularies.



Healthcare and medical databases

The Counties Manukau Health Library provides staff with access to a comprehensive range of medical and healthcare databases including OvidSP platforms (Medline, Embase, PsycInfo), EbscoHost (CINAHL – Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature) and Cochrane Library. The following are useful database-specific tutorials and resources.



[Tutorials]  Cushing/Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials> Subjects > Ovid Help (via The Yale University Library)

Selected Ovid help topics are available on how to formulate a research question, apply the PICO model, use MeSH terms and export results to EndNote and other referencing programmes.



[Tutorials] Cushing/Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials > Subjects > CINAHL Help (via The Yale University Library)

Selected help topics are available on how to formulate a research question, apply the PICO model, use CINAHL headings, combine and limit searches and export results to EndNote and other referencing programmes.


[Tutorials] EBSCOConnect > EBSCOHost Tutorials

EBSCOConnect hosts a number of relevant training resources including:

·         [Video] Basic searching on EBSCOhost [2:12]

·         [Video] Advanced searching on EBSCOHost [2:38]

·         [Video] CINAHL Advanced searching tutorial [3:45]

·         [Video] CINAHL/MeSH Subject headings tutorial [3:32]



Library guides, videos and elearnng modules



[Tutorials] Cushing/Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials > Subjects > PubMed Help (via The Yale University Library)

Selected PubMed help topics are available on finding evidence, saving search strategies and exporting your results to referencing programmes such as EndNote.


[Tutorials] NCBI > Tutorials > PubMed (via YouTube) Please use Chrome or Firefox to open the link and access this resource: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBD13A2628C7A9965

These short video tutorials developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) helps you build a better query by using advanced PubMed search techniques, MeSH terms and filters.



[Tutorials] Cochrane Library Training Hub (via Wiley) Please use Chrome or Firefox to open the link and access this resource:  https://www-wiley-com.cmdhb.idm.oclc.org/network/cochranelibrarytraining

Provides access to a number of guides, videos and webinars including:



Searching the grey literature

Comprehensive literature searches, especially those that lead to a systematic review, need to include grey literature searches to minimise publication or reporting biases.


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Cushing/Whitney Medical Library > Tutorials > Finding grey literature (via Yale University Library)

A look at the rationale for searching grey literature for health science research.


[Guide] How to search the grey literature [5:33] (via The University of Otago)

From using Google to appraising the grey literature this library guide from the Wellington Medical and Health Science Library includes tips for searching Google and Google Scholar and provides an essential list of NZ and international grey literature sites for healthcare research.


[Guide] Grey literature in health (via The University of Otago)

A guide to grey literature searching for healthcare research.



Literature reviews


[Guide] Rapid review guidebook. (Dobbins, 2017)

Rapid reviews follow the systematic review process but with components of the process simplified or omitted in order to improve timeliness. This guide follows the seven step process of evidence-informed decision-making promoted by the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT).


[Book] The Literature Review: Six steps to success. (Machi, A., & McEvoy, B.T. 2016). [Call number: W20.5 M149 3rd ed.]

Guide to completing a well-organised and effective literature review including topic selection, searching the literature, developing arguments, surveying/appraising information and writing the review.


[Article] Evaluating literature review methodologies for policymakers. (Naylor, J., Jackson, C., & Donald, M. 2020).

Strengths and methodologies of different reviews including systematic, narrative, scoping, rapid and realist reviews.


[Article] Ten simple rules for writing a literature review. Pautasso, M. (2013). PLoS Comput Biol, 9(7):e1003149.



Systematic reviews


“Systematic reviews involve collating evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question; methods are explicitly documented with an advance protocol to minimise bias.” (Higgins et al., 2020)


Auckland University Library Guide to conducting a systematic review

[Guide] Yale University Library Research Guides > Systematic reviews: Planning, writing and supporting (via The Yale University Library)

This guide covers the following aspects of systematic reviews: introduction, process, databases/grey literature, strategy development, project management and write up.


[Guide] Cochrane Handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. Version 6.1. (Higgins et al., 2020)

This handbook guides on the methodologies used to carry out systematic reviews on the effects of interventions.


[Guide] The Joanna Briggs Institute reviewers’ manual 2014: The systematic review of economic evaluation evidence (The Joanna Briggs Institute, 2014)

This document guides reviews with the objective of identifying and summarising the best available evidence for a question about intervention cost(s) relative to benefits. It also guides on mixed method reviews aiming to synthesise evidence for questions about intervention resource costs and cost effectiveness.


[Article] Learning how to undertake a systematic review: Part 1. Bettany-Saltikov, J. (2010). Nursing Standard 24(50):47-56.

How to conduct systematic reviews including selecting study design, review planning, writing a protocol and summarising criteria for inclusion.


[Article] How to Read a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis and Apply the Results to Patient Care: Users’ Guides to the Medical Literature. Murad M.H., et al. (2014). JAMA 312(2):171-179.  

How to apply the results of a systematic review or meta-analysis with examples.


[Article] How to write an introduction and methods of a systematic review of literature. Malik, M.A. (2014). Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 64(10):1208-1210.

An introduction to reporting guidelines for systematic reviews.


[Book] The Literature Review: Six steps to success. 3rd ed.
(Lawrence Machi & Brenda McEvoy, 2016) [W20.5 M149 3rd ed.]

An intuitive six-step process around literature searching and writing a review.


[Book chapter] Appraising and understanding systematic reviews of qualitative and quantitative evidence. In: Evidence-Based Practice across the Health Professions 2nd ed. (Tammy Hoffmann, Sally Bennett & Chris Del Mar, 2013) [Call number: W84 H711 2nd ed] Please ask a librarian for help with borrowing this item as it is located in Esme Green

This book explores the practice of finding and using evidence to inform decision-making across a range of healthcare roles and includes clinical scenarios.


[Standards] Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (Institute of Medicine, 2011). Available to download with free registration and login to an MYNAP account via National Academies Press.

Outline of framework for developing high-quality systematic reviews addressing topic formulation, finding/assessing studies and producing the final evidence synthesis. 


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Interactive learning modules (via Cochrane)

Cochrane tutorials are accessible via a paywall however the first module is free upon registration (see: Module 1: Introduction to conducting systematic reviews).



[Database] The Cochrane Library

Leading journal and database on systematic reviews in healthcare.


[Database] Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE)  

Systematic reviews of health and social care interventions.


[Database] McAster PLUS Evidence Alerts 

Evidence Alerts is a free service which sends out email notifications about newly-published high quality clinical studies, reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Alerts can be curated to your own clinical interests.


[Database] Health Evidence

Database of over 6,500 quality-rated reviews on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of public health interventions.


[Database] Health Systems Evidence 

Access point for evidence to support policy makers, stakeholders and researchers tasked with strengthening health systems and how to get cost-effective programmes, services and medication to those who need them.



Evidence-based medicine resources


[Guide] Guide to Evidence-based medicine. (UpToDate, 2018)

The basic elements of Evidenc-Based Medicine are reviewed here:

  • Formulating a clinical question;
  • Finding the best available evidence;
  • Assessing the validity of the evidence; and
  • Applying the evidence in practice in conjunction with clinical expertise and patient preferences.


[Article]  Searching for the right evidence: How to answer your clinical questions using the 6S hierarchy. Windish, D. (2013). Evidence-Based Medicine 18(3): 93-97.


[Book] How to read a paper: The basics of evidence-based medicine. 5th ed. Trisha Greenhalgh. (2014). [Call number: WB 141 G813 5th ed]

How to Read a Paper demystifies Evidence-Based Medicine and explains how to critically appraise published research and put research findings into practice in a patient-centered way.


[Book] Users' guides to the medical literature: A manual for evidence-based clinical practice. Gordon Guyatt et al. (2014). [Call number: W 20.5 A986]


[Book] Evidence-based practice across the health professions. 2nd ed. Tammy Hoffmann, Sally Bennett & Chris Del Mar. (2013). [Call number: W 84 H711 2nd ed] Please ask a librarian for help with borrowing this item as it is located in Esme Green


[eBook] How to implement evidence-based healthcare. Trisha Greenhalgh. (2017).

Makes sense of the complex landscape of implementation science, the role of research impact and how to avoid research waste.


[eBook] Philosophy of Evidence-based Medicine. Jeremy Howick. (2014).


[eBook chapter] Evidence-based medicine. In: Emergency Medicine.  Ashley Shreves, Kavita Bhanot & David Newman. (2013).


[eBook] Symptom to diagnosis : an evidence-based guide. Scott Stern, Adam Cifu & Diane Altkorn. (2010).


[eBook chapters] Clinical Key book chapter excerpts on “Evidence-based medicine”. [682 results]


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Evidence informed public health (via National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools)

Access the 6S search pyramid tool and create a free account with NCCMT to access the individual Evidence-Informed Decision Making (EIDM) skills assessment and complete learning modules including EIDM Essentials: Key issues in evidence informed decision making.



PICO framework


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Cochrane Library Tutorial - PICO: Formulate an answerable question via Wiley


[Widget] Ovid PICO Resource Center via Wolters Kluver

A widget to do a quick lookup in Ovid Medline, Embase or PsycInfo databases.


[Article] The impact of patient, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) as a search strategy tool on literature search quality: A systematic review. Eriksen, M.B., & Frandsen, T.F. (2018). Journal of the Medical Library Association 106(4):  420.

Review on using the PICO model as a framework to conduct a systematic literature searches and whether this improves the quality of returned results.


[Article] To make your case, start with a PICOT question. Echevarria, I.M., & Walker, S. (2014). Nursing 44(2): 18-19.

Overview of the PICO model and question framework.


[Article] Using PICO and the brief report to answer clinical questions. Elkins, MY. (2010). Nursing 40(4): 59-60.



Critical appraisal


[Tutorials/Learning modules] Finding and appraising the evidence (HealthKnowledge, UK)

How to find evidence and assess the validity and reliability of that evidence for effective and efficient healthcare provision including modules on: Critical appraisal, Finding the evidence, Randomised controlled trials, Systematic reviews, Economic evaluations and Making sense of the results.


[Toolkit] Understanding Health Research: A tool for making sense of health studies (via University of Glasgow)
This tool will guide you through a series of questions to help you to interpret a published health research paper including: Asking the right questions, Scientific uncertainty, How science media stories work and Common sources of bias.


[Toolkit] Grading Guide (via UpToDate)

UpToDate editorial policies around grading using the international GRADE group system which classifies quality of evidence according to factors that include risk of bias, precision of estimates, result consistency and directness of the evidence.

[Article] GRADE Evidence to Decision (EtD) frameworks: a systematic and transparent approach to making well informed healthcare choices. 1: Introduction. Alonso-Coello, Pablo, et al. (2016). British Medical Journal 353

Discusses the importance of using explicit and transparent systems for decision making in the context of clinical recommendations and health system or public health recommendations including EtD frameworks which help people use evidence in a structured and transparent way to inform decisions.


Case studies


[Article] The power of the case study within practice, education and research. Short, M., Barton, H., Cooper, B., Woolven, M., Loos, M., & Devos, J. (2017). Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education 19(1): 92-106.

[Article] Guidelines to the writing of case studies. Budgell, B. (2008). Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 52(4):199-204.


Clinical audits


[Report] Toward Clinical Excellence: An Introduction to Clinical Audit, Peer Review and Other Clinical Practice Improvements. New Zealand Ministry of Health. (2002).

Offers a practical how to guide for those with little experience of peer review or clinical audit and identifies resources that offer more in depth information.


[Website] NHS England Clinical Audit via NHS

Information on clinical audits and The National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).


Best practice in clinical audit. Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. (2016).

The purpose of this document is to set out updated criteria for best practice in local clinical audit including guidance for clinicians and clinical audit staff on how to plan, design and carry out clinical audit projects that will deliver improvements in the quality of services.


[eBook] 101 Recipes For Audit In Psychiatry. Oakley, Clare. (2011).


[Article] Clinical audit: shining a light on good practice. Grainger, A. (2010). Nursing Management 17(4):30-33.


[Article] Achieving quality assurance through clinical audit. Patel, S. (2010). Nursing Management 17(3):28-34.



Writing and referencing resources


[Guide/PDF] Setting out references via CMDHB Health Library

This library guide provides a detailed overview of how to set out references and in-text citations in the APA 6th edition style. Scientific literature is usually cited in APA – if you’re unsure which referencing format to use please refer to your supervisor.


[Guide/PDF] Key changes between APA 6th and APA 7th via The University of Auckland

This comparative table produced by the University of Auckland (2019) highlights and provides examples of key updated changes introduced in the latest 7th edition.


[Tutorial] Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style via APA style blog

This tutorial is designed for writers new to APA Style. Learn the basics of 7th edition APA Style including paper elements, format, and organisation, academic writing style, grammar and usage, bias-free language, mechanics of style, tables and figures, in-text citations, paraphrasing, quotations, reference list format and order.


 [Book] Publication manual of the American Psychological Association 7th ed. (APA, 2019) [Call number: WM20 P976 7th ed.]

The official source for referencing in the latest format/edition of APA style offering guidance on headings, tables, figures, language and writing tone to achieve elegant and concise scholarly communication.

[Book] Writing for publication in nursing Marilyn H. Oermann and Judith C. Hays. (2010). [Call number: WY20.5 O29]

[Guide] APA Interactive (7th ed.) via Massey University

Interactive examples of how to format APA Style references and in-text citations. Massey University maintains a useful directory of Referencing software.


[Article] Publish or perish: Getting yourself published. Costello, J. (2012). Journal of Renal Nursing 4(3):146-149.

[Article] Writing and publishing clinical articles: a practical guide. Happell, B. (2012). Emergency Nurse 20(1):33-38.

[Video - 90 minutes] Health research writing masterclass: creating a culture of evidence. (2021) Elsevier

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EndNote is a program for storing and managing bibliographic references.  The references can be sorted and searched and automatically incorporated into Word documents. EndNote  may be installed on a designated work computer or laptop for any CM Health staff member (free). If you would like Endnote installed please log a software request on the Health Alliance Services Portal (Request an IT service >> New licensed software>>Select Endnote ).  Currently CM Health is deploying EndNote X7 however a project has been initiated to upgrade to Endnote 20 which is a cloud based version.  When switching to EndNote 20, if you are using EndNote X9.2 or earlier, you will need to convert your library when it is opened the first time. According to Clarivate, both the old and new versions can co-exist but only one can be linked to Word for CWYW (Cite While You Write) and only one can automatically open text files when directly exporting from sources.

 What's new in EndNote 20? It has the following:

  • New intuitive interface design
  • Improved PDF reading
  • New Library menu and revised Tools menu
  • Changes in buttons, icons, and layout
  • Improved and simpler Online Search
  • Quick access to Preferences
  • Multiple Libraries in separate windows
  • Fields like Rating, Read status no longer default but still available
  • Simple Search and Advanced Search
  • Duplicate Search with new fields added
  • Sync Status showing more details
  • EndNote Click (formerly Kopernio) installer on as a default allowing to add bibliographic and fulltext from online resources when available into EndNote just a click away
  • APA 7th style automatically installed

Guides to using EndNote 20 - includes short videos, guides and online learning modules

Guide to using EndNote X7


Using Endnote Offsite

The Endnote online function only comes with Endnote 20. Users are given an option to create an online account when they click on the ‘Sync’ option from their version 20 desktop clients. Please note that only one library can be synced to the cloud. Access to the cloud can then be done through here… https://access.clarivate.com/login?app=endnote


Open source alternatives to EndNote

Zotero [Not compatible with Internet Explorer]


Mendeley Desktop is free academic software for organizing and sharing research papers and generating bibliographies with 1GB of free online storage to automatically back up and synchronize your library across desktop, web and mobile.


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Remote access 


Remote access to our collection is via HealthPoint using the following login details:

Username = employer number (eg: 12345)

Password = your first name (eg: peter)