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Occupational Therapy: Databases

Health Science Center Libraries


Why Use Bibliographic Databases

Literature searching is a methodical process of looking for published or unpublished evidence on a chosen topic using bibliographic databases. Within the health sciences, this evidence usually comes in the form of information sources like books, journal articles, guidelines, clinical trials data, or conference proceedings. Good literature searches help you find relevant, up to date, quality information to help you identify current research gaps, potential research methods, and current theories and findings.

Bibliographic databases are collections of references and abstracts on a specific subject or subjects. The references are usually drawn from resources like academic journals, books, and reports from professional associations that are reputable, clearly dated, and have already been reviewed for quality and accuracy.

Accessing UF Database Subscriptions

Remember, for remote access to all UF electronic resources use the VPN software or the Proxy Server.

Some databases, journals and resources are free for anyone to access and some are only accessible to UF affiliates through the libraries' subscription. To access subscription resources while off campus, you must be logged in to the VPN or the proxy service.

Access to electronic resources should be seamless from any UF networked computer. Note that some computers in Shands may require remote access.

Eligibility for access: UF students/faculty/staff members with current, valid UF ID/Gator1 Card.

Image by Christina Smith from Pixabay 

Important Databases for Occupational Therapy & Rehabilitation

The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature provides indexing of the top nursing and allied health literature available including nursing journals and publications from the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association. Literature covers a wide range of topics including nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines.

Web of Science contains over 21,100 peer-reviewed, high-quality scholarly journals published worldwide (including Open Access journals) in over 250 sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities disciplines. Conference proceedings and book data are also available.


PubMed comprises more than 30 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.

SPORTDiscus is the leading bibliographic database for sports and sports medicine research. It includes millions of records from leading sports medicine journals, books, dissertations and more. Subjects covered include nutrition, physical therapy, occupational health, exercise physiology and kinesiology.

PsycINFO provides access to international literature in psychology and related disciplines. Topic coverage includes Applied psychology, Communication systems, Developmental psychology, Educational psychology, Experimental human and animal psychology, Personality, Psychological and physical disorders, Physiological psychology and neuroscience, Sports psychology 

ERIC indexes education research found in journal articles, books, and grey literature.

OTseeker is a database that contains abstracts of thousands of systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials and other resources relevant to occupational therapy interventions. It is designed to help occupational therapists use research evidence about occupational therapy interventions to inform their practice by quickly locating it.

Research evidence relevant to occupational therapy has been retrieved from over 1,000 different journals and has been located by comprehensive searches across numerous bibliographic databases.

TRID is an integrated database that combines the records from TRB’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the OECD’s Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. TRID provides access to more than 1.2 million records of transportation research worldwide.

REHABDATA, produced by the National Rehabilitation Information Center, is the leading literature database on disability and rehabilitation. The database describes over 80,000 documents covering physical, mental, and psychiatric disabilities, independent living, vocational rehabilitation, special education, assistive technology, law, employment, and other issues as they relate to people with disabilities. 

Learning Literature Searching Skills

To learn how to search different databases either attend some of the HSCL's workshops (click here for the schedule and to reserve your spot) or contact the OT Liaison Librarian Jane Morgan-Daniel to arrange a time for a one-to-one or group appointment.

Precision & Recall

Precision = the fraction of retrieved items that are relevant

  • (How much of what you retrieved is good?)
  • # relevant articles divided by # total articles

Recall = fraction of relevant items retrieved out of all relevant items available in the database

  • (How much of the good stuff did you actually get. Unfortunately, the higher the recall, the more 'junk' you end up getting also.)
  •  # relevant articles retrieved divided by # total relevant articles available

When searching, you're looking for a reasonable balance between precision (narrowing your search to get ONLY relevant articles) and recall (widening it to get ALL relevant articles, which usually means a lot more junk to weed through as well).

A common question is "How many articles should be retrieved by a good search?" There's no exact answer to that. Somewhere between 100-300 is a reasonable number of abstracts to weed through, but it depends greatly on your question, how comprehensive you want to be, and how much literature there truly is on your topic.

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