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PhD in Translational Health Sciences: How to Do Online Research

Introduction to library and information resources for students studying for a PhD in the translational sciences.

Guide to Using PubMed at Himmelfarb

See our PubMed @ Himmelfarb guide to find tips and hints for getting the most out of your PubMed search!

Subject Specific Databases

Depending on your topic, search the following databases to locate research on a specific topic area to help refine your search.

Completed HPV Grid from Residency Weekend #1

Locating Grey Literature

Online Research -- PubMed

Beyond PubMed-- online tutorials for other databases

CINAHL:  the cumulative index to nursing and allied health

General Tips for Conducting Translational Research

Tips for Conducting Online Translational Research

T1 Research:

Definition:  basic science research discoveries from animal and preclinical studies applied to phase I and II clinical trials; determining efficacy.

Databases to search: 

  • PubMed

Search Strategies:

  • Specific scientific terms, use the MeSH database to identify drug names
  • MeSH terms to try: Drug Evaluation and Drug Evaluation, Preclinical  
  • Limit search by: year, English, article type (Clinical Trials, Phase I and Clinical Trials, Phase II)


T2 Research: 

Definition: Building on validated T1 research to develop evidence-based practice guidelines; phase III trials, determining cost effectiveness and treatment strategies.

Databases to search: 

  • PubMed (for medical topics)
  • Scopus (for searches that extend into the social sciences and psychology literature)
  • Cochrane and DARE databases which focus on reporting T2 studies

Search Strategies:

  • Use PICO worksheet to frame question Intervention names (i.e. drug or therapy)
  • MeSH terms to try: Treatment Outcome, Patient Outcome Assessment, Translational Medical Research
  • Limit search: to human, by year, by article type (Clinical Trial, Phase III and Practice Guideline; Systematic Reviews; Meta-Analyses)


T3 Research: 

Definition:  Applying guidelines developed as part of T2 research to practice; phase IV trials, focus on dissemination and implementation.

Databases to search: 

  • PubMed

Search Strategies:

  • MeSH terms to try:  Product Surveillance, Postmarketing; Diffusion of Innovation; Information Dissemination; Translational Medical Research
  • Limit searches by: article type (Clinical Trial, Phase IV; Systematic Reviews; Meta-Analyses)


T4 Research:

Definition:  Research that explores how changes in health practice affect population health; focus on outcomes research.

Databases to search: 

  • PubMed
  • Scopus
  • PsycInfo for broader coverage

Search Strategies:

  • MeSH terms to try:  Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Patient Outcome Assessment, Critical Care Outcomes, Health Services Research, Follow-up Studies, Long Term Adverse Effects, Comparative Effectiveness Research; Program Evaluation, Nursing Research Evaluation, Drug Utilization Review, Costs and Cost Analysis, Health Expenditures
  • Limits searches by: article type (Evaluation Studies; Pragmatic Clinical Trial; Comparative Study; Systematic Reviews; Meta-Analyses)

Thanks to

Balke, C. W., Umberger, G. H., & Mattacola, C. G. (2010). "Oh, the Places You'll Go" : Transformation of the Nation's Biomedical Research Enterprise in the 21st Century. Journal Of Sport Rehabilitation, 19(4), 359-368.

Drolet, B. C., & Lorenzi, N. M. (2011). Review Article: Translational research: understanding the continuum from bench to bedside. Translational Research, 157 1-5. doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2010.10.002

Yoong, Sze Lin.(2015) Systematic reviews examining implementation of research into practice and impact on population health are needed. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 68 (7), 788-791 DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.12.008