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RWT Library & Knowledge Services: Searching the literature

Guide for Library and Knowledge Services

Why is literature searching important?

A literature search is an important part of the research process, summarising current knowledge and informing future research. It should identify the amount and quality of work that has already been carried out in the topic area.

A well-structured search will also provide you with the results you require and will save time by limiting the amount of results retrieved.


The eLearning for Healthcare website has several modules to help you develop your literature searching skills. The modules are aimed at those new to literature searching or would like a refresher.

You can access the modules via the homepage or go directly to each Module using the links below.

There is no need to login to access the content, just click on Play then Continue. Alternatively you can choose to login with your NHS OpenAthens account.

Building the Foundations includes three modules to enable users to assess their current level of skill in literature searching, find out more about the resources available to them and get started planning a search.

  • Module 1 Introduction to searching (pre-assessment module)
  • Module 2 Where do I start searching?
  • Module 3 How do I start to develop a search strategy?

Developing the skills includes three modules covering a range of searching techniques which will help you find relevant articles quickly and easily. You will learn how to narrow and broaden your search to ensure that you find the right amount of information.

  • Module 4 Too many results? How to narrow your search
  • Module 5 Too few results? How to broaden your search
  • Module 6 Searching with subject headings

Applying the skills

  • Module 7 How to search the Healthcare Databases (HDAS)

Library & Knowledge Service Support

Literature search skills

What does it involve?

A 60 minute practical session where you will learn how to plan a search plus essential search techniques to find relevant articles faster. Practice a sample search using the Healthcare databases

Who is it for?

Anyone who would like to improve their search skills whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced

When is it and how do I book?

Details of upcoming sessions will be available shortly along with details on how to book

I can't make any of the advertised training dates, what I can do?

Contact our Knowledge Specialists who can arrange a 1 to1 session with you

Can you run sessions for our team?

Yes, contact the Knowledge Specialists to arrange a session at your team or educational meeting



Need help sooner?

Tel: 01902 695322

RWT Library & Knowledge Services Building 11, Wolverhampton Medical Institute, New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton. WV10 0QP Tel: 01902 695322 E-Mail: Twitter: @rwtlibrary