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Expert Searching for High Quality Evidence in the Online Environment


2nd term
2 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Julie Nanavati
Frequency Schedule:
One Year Only

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


Internet search engines such as Google give the illusion that finding answers to most questions has become a relatively simple process. However, doing an expert, comprehensive, and efficient search for peer-reviewed literature and other high quality academic articles appropriate for graduate level work or the production of systematic reviews requires a specific set of skills and knowledge. This course addresses the competencies needed to complete comprehensive, systematic, and transparent searches of the literature.

Introduces students to effective and efficient searching of the medical literature, in particular the skills and knowledge needed to produce an effective search in support of a systematic review of the medical literature. Discusses existing standards and evidence for these standards. Familiarizes students with software that helps with managing the results of literature searches. Addresses the competencies needed to complete comprehensive, systematic, transparent searches of the literature.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the iterative steps involved in conducting an expert search for a literature review
  2. Identify databases, online tools, and help guides that are available to use when conducting an expert search for a literature review
  3. Develop an effective search strategy to locate relevant literature in at least two core databases of medical information
  4. Document searches conducted for a literature review in a way that is transparent and reproducible
  5. Create a bibliography using a citation management tool such as RefWorks or Mendeley
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 95% Assignments
  • 5% Participation

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Students looking to audit must submit a copy of approval of the audit request to the academic coordinator's office prior to registering.

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

The class moves extremely fast. It is not recommended to join the course after the first session.