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Medicine and Health Sciences: Personal and Professional development 111 Theme B: Academic Literacy

Medicine and Health sciences

Assignment and workshop guide

Boolean operators

Recommended databases as sources for finding references and articles

African Journals - Sabinet  Full-text access to journals published in South Africa.
Africa-Wide Information - EBSCOhost (incorporating South African Studies and African Studies)

PubMed - Medline bibliographic database of int biomedical literature of the National Library of Medicine.


Google Scholar


Examples of Vancouver referencing style  |Make sense of referencingIn-text and reference list examples of the Vancouver method  on p 34+  | Characteristics of the method on p 10.

How do I do my assignment? To find, access and use information effectively,
use the Step-by-Step Guide.

Find information: Search strategy| Find articles | Find full text articles

Use information responsibly:   Plagiarism | Turnitin | Referencing

Need further  assistance?
Drop me a visit in the Medicine and Health Sciences Library, contact me or Ask Us 

Suggested Keywords to find articles

Main theme for 2021: Describing and controlling a communicable disease caused by a virus

Pubmed: One option would be to use the MeSH
Controlled vocabulary and search for Virus Diseases

Scroll down for a list of different viral diseases, Select a specific disease by clicking on the term,(for instance Chronic Fatigue syndrome). When page opens, scroll down to see synonyms used for this disease, such as Myalgia Encephalomyelitis.
Combine  the various terms to broaden your search. Add the aspects such as epidemiology, risk factors, diagnosis, prevention, control.

Use the  Worksheet in the box below to compile your search string and use this string to search on the various appropriate databases for articles on your topic.

The following two databases may be good options to use for African and South African information (log in with your SU campus username and password)

African Journal Archive - Sabinet

Africa-Wide Information

Tip: When searching Google Scholar and for help in finding the full-text via the journal title, ensure your Library links is set up correctly.

Remember you need to reference your sources used, so make sure you get the detail.

 Our Interlibrary loan service is available for your difficult to find articles(Check Google Scholar and E-Journals first).

If all else fail, your friendly librarians are available via ASK, or contact us via email to make an appointment


Example of compiled search string


_________ AND (_______ OR ________) AND ( ______OR ______)

"Chronic fatigue syndrome" AND (viral OR virus) AND (epidemiolog* OR control OR prevention)

Learn about Boolean logic

Search smarter, search faster, a video from the University of Sydney:

A Boolean Searching Library guide from Athabasca University:  Tips for searching with Boolean logic. and learn how to conduct phrase searching.

Worksheet: search strategy

Search for articles using Library Search (search function)

Search SU libraries for Articles

Training Slides


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Yusuf Ras
Medicine and Health Sciences Library
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South Africa

+27 21 938 9365