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Health Data Science: Advanced Research

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Research Support and Open Access

This Postgraduate course contains links to information useful to you as a Postgraduate, including Library Guides and external sources. It works best by navigating to the section on which you require information, although there are also a lot of useful links in the Support section. Use this guide to help you throughout your Postgraduate career. 

Mapping research tools

There are multiple tools which you can use to map a research area; starting with a few key or 'root' papers and expanding your network. Using these tools can help improve your overall understanding of your area of study, but also help you engage more critically with the research literature. 

Beyond Swansea University

Visiting other libraries

You may wish to visit other university libraries:

  1. Either for convenience because they're close to your home town
  2. Or because they hold specialist collections.

Swansea University is a member of the SCONUL Access scheme.  This allows academic staff,  postgraduate research students, full-time postgraduates, part-time, distance learning or placement students to borrow from other Higher Education libraries across the UK who are members of the scheme.   

Borrowing from other libraries.

You don't need to visit other libraries in order to borrow items which are not in stock at Swansea University.

Request any books or journal articles through our Document Supply Services.


EThOS has been created to offer a single point of access to UK theses and plays a significant role in showcasing UK research to the world.  EThOS, which is hosted by the British Library, has  more than 100 UK universities involved in the project and can offer an ever expanding range of titles as full text downloads.

If an item you require is already in EThOS then it is immediately available for download to your desktop free of charge; if not, then you can choose to purchase a scanned copy from EThOS.

Searching the literature

Once you have some ideas for a research topic –start reading. To get a general, non-technical overview, start with text-books or encyclopaedic articles.   Note the following:

  • Key thinkers and researchers on the topic
  • The various sub divisions of the topic
  • Current issues and controversies

Once you have a better idea of the subject, the specialist terminology and key authors, you can start your literature searching (and reading) in earnest.

Spending a short time planning will save time in the long run and ensure your searching (i) does not miss important articles; (ii) is comprehensive; (iii) only finds the most reputable research and best quality information.

Key points are:

  • Identifying keywords for searching
  • Setting limits such as geography (UK or other countries or international), and time (how far back you want to search - back to a specific event, or back 10 or more years).
  • Combining your search terms effectively.
  • Where are you going to search? (databases, websites etc.)
  • Recording your results
  • Keeping up date with new publications on your research topic.

At the beginning of your search you may only have a few keywords, with these you can conduct a scoping search (a brief, broad search) to get an overview of how much literature there is on your topic.  Based on your results you can then refine your keywords and rerun your search.

Correct combination of your keywords using boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT) will be important.  We have created a research record form to help you to think about keywords for your search.

NB: Some of our databases will also have Subject Headings/Thesaurus headings.  Using subject heading searches is an advanced way of searching for literature and can provide a useful, focused set of results.  Each database will have a help page with further details.

Bibliographic Databases that index the literature in your subject will be listed under the Databases tab above. Take a look at what is there. Test out your search terms to see how useful each database is for you specific search. Each database has its strengths. There will also be a lot of overlap between some.

Select the ones you need to search.

Develop your search strategy in one database.

Adapt  your search strategy for each  database as necessary. Databases work on similar lines but the search interface may differ and require some adjustments. Always look at the help sections in a database if you are unsure, or contact a librarian for guidance.

Saving results from each database may be straightforward if the number of results is relatively small. For a detailed literature review, however, you may have many search results from each database. Duplicates will be common. We recommend that you use bibliographic management software such as EndNote for this.

Critically appraising your sources is a crucial element of any literature search.  Ask yourself:

  • Reliable? Who are the authors and what are their credentials? Check their Biographies and References.
  • Free from bias? Is the content based on robust research or is it an opinion?
  • Sufficiently up to date for your topic?

Further reading:

Developing Critical Thinking (Emerald Publishing)

If you are planning to do a systematic review  of the literature, then look at the library advice provided on our Systematic Reviews library guide.

How to use EndNote

EndNote is a software package which helps you to organize your references and PDF files. It works with Word to format your references without you needing to worry about punctuation etc.

Search for Open Access Content

Open Access Search

Skip the paywall and search CORE for free, legal, full-text articles.

Search CORE


SAGE Research Methods

This is an excellent resource for social scientists who want to find out more about research methodology for all social science disciplines, including business, management and economics.

Researcher Development at Swansea University

The Swansea University Research Skills Development team provide training in transferable research skills.  Find details of upcoming courses on their website.

Other links:

Publishing your research

The Library's Research Support team is based at the Singleton park campus. The Research Support librarians provide advice and support to research-active staff, whether early-career researchers or experienced researchers.

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