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Physician Assistant Studies: Databases

Physician Assistants

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Literature searching is a methodical process of looking for published or unpublished evidence on a chosen topic using bibliographic databases.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 EZProxy.

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 Journal Articles

Relevant Databases for Books

Relevant Databases for Drug Information

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 PAS Liaison Librarian Courtney Pyche 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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