If you are undertaking research or considering getting more involved in research, your library service is here to support you throughout the process. 

Developing Your Research Idea

At the early stages of your project a literature search can help you to scope out whether there are any existing studies linked to your research ideas, and underpin your initial proposals. Contact us to discuss options for an initial literature search to inform your project.

Key contacts when developing a research idea:
Leeds Teaching Hospitals: Research and Innovation - Information for Researchers
Leeds Community Healthcare: Research Team
Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust: Research and Development Team

Searching the Evidence

If your research project involves a literature review, we can help you throughout the process.

All NHS staff are eligible for an OpenAthens account, which gives you access to the key healthcare databases and a wide range of other online evidence resources, essential for searching the literature.

Book onto one of our information skills courses to improve your understanding of literature searching, critical appraisal or the resources available to you through NHS libraries. 

Arrange a one-to-one tutorial  with one of our experienced librarians to work on refining your search strategy and look at how to use healthcare databases to search the literature.   

We can also carry out literature searches for your research on your behalf. 

For more guidance on literature searching, consult The Literature Search Process: Guidance for NHS Researchers. Developed and maintained by healthcare librarians in Thames Valley, Wessex and South West , this is a comprehensive resource aiming to support NHS researchers in carrying out effective literature searches.

Accessing Journal Articles

We can help you to access full text of any articles that you need for your research. You will need an active NHS OpenAthens account to access online journals and databases, so ensure this is set up early in your research process. 

Check if you have access to an article by using the NHS Knowledge and Library Hub to search for it. If you have the DOI or PMID of an article, and want to check quickly if you can access it, use https://libkey.io/ . You can also install the LibKey Nomad browser extension to give you one-click access to journal articles.

Where an article is not available in our subscriptions, these services will direct you to a form to  'Request this item'. When these forms are submitted, our library staff will endeavour to obtain the article from another NHS library, and send it directly to you as a PDF. If you have any queries about accessing articles or other resources, contact your library. 

Reference Management

Reference management software is extremely helpful for projects involving literature reviews, helping you to collect, organise, and cite material in your work, share your refewrences with others, and keep track of the literature that you have found and read.

We do not currently provide specific support for any reference management software. However, if you would like to find out more about the different options and how they work, this guide from the University of York is clear and comprehensive.

Free reference management software:

  • Zotero (free, charges to upgrade file storage)
  • Mendeley (free, charges to upgrade file storage)

Refworks accounts may be available for NHS researchers. Contact us to discuss this option.

Systematic Reviews

If your research project involves a systematic review, your library service may be able to support you with the search phase of this process. Please contact your library service to discuss this as early as possible, as searching for systematic reviews is a time and resource intensive process and will need to be planned carefully to fit into existing workloads. 

These resources may help you to understand more about the process of a systematic review:

 For more information on different types of review and determining what methodology is right for your project:

Useful Websites

  • Clinicaltrials.gov- Information about clinical studies (including but not limited to clinical trials)
  • CONSORT Statement - Evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials.
  • NIHR - Clinical Trials Toolkit - Practical advice to researchers in designing and conducting publicly funded clinical trials in the UK.
  • CASP checklists – Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklists to help you assess research in a systematic way.
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)- Organisation providing details of funding, and research guidance.
  • PRISMA - PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses

Research Skills

For further reading to support the development of your research skills, view a topic below to browse the books available on this subject in our libraries, or search for a specific title.

Or search for a specific title through our library catalogueIf we do not have the book that you would like to consult, we may be able to obtain it for you from another NHS library. Visit our document supply page to find out more