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Medical Laboratory Technician Seminar Research Guide

Research guide to assist with research for the MLT Seminar

Quick Links to Recommended Databases

Remember: Databases are your friends.

The black and white image depicts a magnifying glass enlarging text on a computer screen. Research requires patience.When doing research and looking for credible information, especially within a clinical or professional field, databases are your friends.

What's a database?

Don't worry if the term, databases, is new for you. The term is a general one to refer to organized collections of published information, such as newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and books.

How do databases work?

Databases have special search tools, filters, and features to help you find just the right information for papers, projects, or presentations. Some databases are available on the open web, others require a subscription or may be provided by your library or workplace.

Note: You will need to log in to some databases using your MyWestern login info.

The login screen looks like this: 

 database login screen

If you have any trouble with access (you shouldn't), let Ellen know.

Why should I use databases for this project?

For your MLT Seminar research, you will be searching for primary journal articles (original research) or journal articles from laboratory journals. The library provides several databases that contain the kinds of journal articles you will need. 

How do I know where to start?

This page includes a list of recommended databases for your research, as well as a few tips and tricks for searching.

What if I get stuck and can't find anything useful?

Every topic and tool is a little different, so if you're having trouble, or want a more personalized recommendation, please reach out to Ellen using the contact info on this page. You can also ask your instructor for suggestions and ideas.

General Search Tips and Tools

The advanced search option provides multiple search boxes, as shown here by the three search boxes EBSCO's Health Source advanced search.Searching:

  • Break down your topic into search terms (for best results, use nouns).

  • The Advanced Search gives you multiple search boxes. This can help you narrow your results and also break down your topic into searchable components.

    • Within the advanced search, the Document Type or Publication Type category is a good place to specify what you are looking for.

    • Select the Full Text checkbox to be sure you get whole articles, not just short summaries and citations.

  • Search Operators allow you to get really specific about how you want to combine your terms:

    • AND​ - retrieves results that include both terms

    • OR​ - retrieves results that include either term

    • NOT - retrieves results including A and excluding B

  • The Publication search can help you target a few specific laboratory medicine journals to search within. Search for "laboratory" or "clinical lab" in the description/summary box to find relevant journals.

  • Pay attention to the Subject terms you find. Jot down terms relevant to your research, they may lead to better articles.

  • If you're not sure about your search terms, use the Thesaurus to search for subject terms, browse for terms, or add terms to your search. Remember to jot them down, you may need them!

Navigating Results:

  • The Abstract is a concise summary of the article and can give you a sense of whether or not the article will be helpful. 

  • The Cite / Citation tool is very handy for help with citing your sources. Be sure to document your citations and save your articles as you research so you don't have to retrace your steps later.

  • Did you find a citation that looks helpful but can't find a full text version of the article? Ask a librarian and we'll see what we can to do to help you track it down.  

Addressing Frequent Challenges:

Struggling to identify a primary article (AKA original research)?

  • Primary journal articles contain original research. If the article sounds like the author(s) conducted the research, then it may be a primary journal article. If the authors are summarizing or describing only others' research, then it may not be a primary journal article. 
  • There are often specific sections (with headings) such as methodology, data set, results, and analysis.

Having trouble finding case studies?

  • Try adding the words "case study" to your search.
  • Look for titles and articles that describe a specific individual. Things like "Acute Liver Failure in an Adolescent Male" and "A Case of Chronic Thrombocytopenia in a 17-Year-Old Female" are good clues.

Trying to locate articles with lab results?

  • Try adding terms such as "lab OR laboratory" or "laboratory results" to your search. 
  • If you're not sure if your article has lab results, skim through the article itself and look for diagrams, data charts, slides, or a section title that says something like "Results."

Find an abstract that looks perfect but can't locate the full text?

  • We may be able to request the full text via interlibrary loan (you'll need to allow 1-2 weeks for this process).
  • Send the article information (full citation, link, etc.) to Ellen or to the library email ( and she'll get that request placed for you. 

Overview Video: Database Searching for MLT Seminar Research

Where to Find Specific Laboratory Journals

Additional Places to Look for Journal Articles and Case Studies

You may be able to find everything you need in the library's databases linked above. However, if you've tried searching there and still haven't found what you need, these additional resources may be helpful.

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