Tuesday, September 12, 2006

G.S. To the Rescue

Quick! Put that muffin down! Here are the instructions. You have exactly 30 min's. You have no time to explain to the user your search strategy. You have no idea what sources your user already has in hand. And also, you are not to list the resources available. You are to search, search, and search. And come up with the most relevant articles as possible. (This isn't a reference interview). Now Go!

  • I'm writing a paper for another project I've been working on, and I'm looking for a reference or two to bolster my claim that primary care physicians are insufficiently trained in assessment/referral practices for mental health and/or substance use disorders, and that they aren't adequately integrated with specialized care professionals for these problems. I've found a couple of papers but I thought I'd check with you anyway . . . I'd much appreciate any studies you could throw my way.

What did I do? Google Scholar. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on what perspective you take), when it comes down to finding a quick and dirty way of coming up with scholarly sources, Google Scholar does the job, and does it effectively. For this search, I basically had to cut down the jargon and come up with the key terms.

Because this inquiry pertains to psychology, I have to use a multidisciplinary approach. Of course, if I had more time, I may be able to use CINAHL, PubMed, Medline, or PsychInfo and play around with controlled vocabulary MeSH terms. But we're on a strict time budget! Onwards!

The terms I used were: "primary care physicians" and "mental health" and "insufficient training" and "lack." Surprisingly, despite this unscientific approach, I still came up with some useful
sources. Now, it all depends on context. If this were a reference desk search, it would probably be a terrible failure. However, in my case, it's for a researcher who desperately wants a few sources thrown her way. So, it works. Not the best way, but good enough for the moment.

I used G.S because I felt it covered a wider range of databases, compared to doing searches using just PubMed or Medline. Another reason why I used G.S. is that it's freely accessible online. Just like
PubMed, I don't need UBC access. Moreover, I also liked G.S. because of its related articles feature; it allows me to continously spread my search to articles which are similar to the one at hand. Ah yes, the power (or horrors) of Google Scholar . . .


Dean Giustini said...


I'm going to get you to take over Google scholar blog while I am on sabbatical.

Good post

Allan said...


That would indeed be a huge undertaking. I would be standing on the shoulders of a giant :-P


Dean Giustini said...


Forgot to ask "will you syndicate" Allan's library?



Allan said...

It's gone public!