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Life Sciences: Databases

Guide to information resources for life sciences at the University of Warwick Library, including books, journals, databases, referencing and sources of help.

What is a Database?

Databases are the best way of finding peer-reviewed articles, scholarly books, conferences, theses and other information on your topic. Some databases enable you to search across disciplines while others are tailored to help researchers in your specific subject. 


Key Databases for Medicine

Have a look at the key databases for life sciences:

  • PubMed is a collection of articles covering the life sciences, biomedical science and medicine. 
  • Medline (OVID) is an alternative version of PubMed. Sometimes more helpful if you are performing very complicated searches. 
  • Web of Science is a multidisciplinary database. Good for research questions that cut across different disciplines
  • Scopus is another good multidisciplinary database.
  • Embase covers biomedical research with an emphasis on drug research and pharmacology

Alternatively, use our full database list to explore databases by subject or material type.


Looking for research information?


Information Skills for Life Sciences.

Searching for up to date research to support your assignments is an important skill and it is worth spending some time reviewing the databases that you have access to.

This tutorial will introduce you to three key databases: PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus.

The tutorial will show you how to put a search strategy together, some advanced search techniques and how to the full text of articles.

Conducting a systematic literature search.

For anyone undertaking a systematic review, a scoping review or any review that requires evidence of how you have searched the research literature, this tutorial will help you to think about the practical steps of completing the searching stage of your systematic review. This includes advanced search techniques, the use of search filters, supplementary search techniques, including citation searching. There is also advice on recording your search strategies and managing your references.

Advanced search techniques.

There are a range of search techniques that you can use to help to refine your search strategies, such as truncation, wildcards, phrase searching and proximity searching. Some of these techniques apply across all databases, for example, truncation searching and others will vary between the different databases, for example, proximity searching. The following guide will show you how to apply these techniques in the following databases – Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL, Web of Science, ASSIA, Scopus and the Cochrane Library.


Medline is a specialist database that indexes most of the world's research articles in the area of medicine. It is an alternative database to PubMed - you don't need to search both. For more complex searches, you may find Medline a bit easier to use.

This tutorial takes you through the process of creating an effective search strategy for the Medline database and gives you an opportunity to have a go at completing a search. It also covers some of the more general search principles and techniques that you can use with any database. The quiz at the end allows you to assess what you have learnt.

Get Help From Your Librarian

Academic Support Librarian for Medicine, Life Sciences and Psychology

Sam Johnson

Email Me

If you have any questions or need any help and advice, please contact me. I am happy to meet in person or via Teams or have a chat via email.

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