The Library offers literature search assistance to support clinical practice and professional activities.
Information Specialists can conduct literature searches on behalf of our members and staff, or provide guidance to those undertaking searches themselves. See below for the types of searches we can offer support with.
Who can use the service?
- Members and fellows of RCS England
- Affiliate members of RCS England
- Faculty of Dental Surgery: MFDS, FDSRCS, Specialty Member, Associate
- RCS England staff
If your search is part of a defined activity for educational purposes (e.g. part of a requirement for a certificate or degree) then we will not be able to conduct the search on your behalf. Please see below for the support we can offer.
I want to conduct my own searches:
The Evidence Support Team would be happy to provide one-to-one training and advice on how to conduct your search. To book an appointment with our trained Information Specialists, please email email@example.com.
Alternatively, there are online training and resources available to help you make the most of searching Ovid MEDLINE and Embase on the Ovid Training Platform.
We also offer a search strategy peer review service for those who want to conduct their own searches. If you have designed a search strategy and would benefit from peer review before you compile the results, Information Specialists can use an evidence-based checklist to peer review your search strategies and ensure the most effective translation of the research question for your research needs. We can advise on MeSH/Emtree thesaurus headings, keyword terminology, truncation, Boolean and proximity operators, spelling, syntax, line numbers, and database limits and filters. We can offer tailored advice for Ovid Medline and Embase, as well as Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL).
Please email strategies for review to firstname.lastname@example.org including details of the databases used and the aspects of the search you would like us to review.
See also the below training guides:
RCS England Literature Search Service conduct your own searches using our databases
RCS England Literature Search Service Guide to study types
RCS England Literature Search Service Finding grey literature
I would like the Library to conduct a search on my behalf:
Surgeons require literature for a number of reasons so we have tiered our service to provide the most appropriate support:
- Quick search: A Quick Search will provide you with 5-10 good quality, relevant references to answer a simple or focused question. Quick Searches are good for finding the most up-to-date information on a topic such as the most recent systematic reviews or high-quality evidence on your topic. Quick Searches are particularly useful to support posters, presentations, keeping up to date or getting started with a topic.
- Comprehensive search: Comprehensive searches are good for more complex clinical questions, questions with a wide scope or questions where you would like to gather a wide range of relevant references. An Information Specialist will search a variety of sources using a complex search strategy. We will then remove duplicates and exclude any irrelevant results according to relevance criteria that you provide us with. Comprehensive searches are particularly useful to support research, publication or gathering the evidence base to inform a project or decision.
- Search to support Systematic Review: Searches to support systematic review seek to identify all the existing evidence on a specific research question. Systematic searches include advanced searches of MEDLINE, Embase and other relevant sources conducted by an Information Specialist. Please note that Information Specialists will not screen systematic review search results for eligibility, although we will remove duplicates. Searches to support systematic review should be requested for those undertaking systematic reviews, meta analyses or guideline development.
- Literature searches for RCS England staff: Staff at the College may request any of our standard literature searches or one of our bespoke searches for staff. Literature searches for staff are undertaken for a variety of reasons including: gathering evidence to support project planning, contributing to research or report writing and learning more about topics of interest.
Fill in the relevant web form below to submit your request.
Alternatively, fill in the equivalent PDF form and email it to email@example.com:
RCS England Quick search request
RCS England Narrative search request
RCS England Systematic search support request
RCS England Qualitative or mixed methods search request
Information Specialists conduct searches using Ovid MEDLINE and Embase, and other sources where appropriate. We will respond to your request within two business days to agree on a deadline for your results.