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NSCI 300 Neuroethics

Using the library catalogue and databases

Once you have a good grounding in the topic from your background reading, search the library catalogue and databases for more secondary sources.

Tips: use multiple databases (not all the same journals will be in every database) and do multiple searches with different synonyms and related keywords.

McGill Library catalogue: Searching here will find you both books and articles. Search by keywords and then you can refine your results on the results page using the lefthand menu.

Searching tips: Truncation symbol * (as in, neurosurge*) will retrieve catalogue records containing the words neurosurgery, neurosurgical, neurosurgeon, etc.
Quotation marks  "___" (as in "deep brain stimulation") will retrieve only catalogue records containing the full phrase within the quotation marks, instead of individual words.
Boolean operators AND and OR links your search terms in different ways. AND (as in, ethics AND dementia) will retrieve catalogue records containing both words, while OR (as in, ethics OR "public policy") will retrieve catalogue records with one or the other. Remember: AND will make your search narrower. OR will make your search wider. In the library catalogue and google searching, AND is implied (you don't need to type it out), but this isn't the case in all databases.

MEDLINE or PubMed: From the US National Library of Medicine, contains large collection of biomedical scholarly literature. (MEDLINE refers to the collection of material, while PubMed is one interface you can use to search the MEDLINE collection.

MEDLINE searching tips: click on "Additional Limits" or "Edit Limits" below the search box. On the next screen select "Bioethics" in the box "Subject Subsets."  That way when you day a search you can check off "Bioethics" and narrow down your results to only ethics literature.

PubMed searching tips: Add the phrase AND bioethics[sb] to any keyword when you search (for example, enter "brain imaging"
 AND bioethics[sb]
in the search box). This will search only within the subject of bioethics.

Web of Science:  A multi-subject database covering social studies, science, etc., with a good deal of ethics literature. You can search for articles by author, source title, subject, etc.

ETHXWeb: No longer updated! But a very complete database for ethics resources until 2009 (contains lots of different types of material including journal articles, legal decisions, books, bills, etc.) WIth this database, you will need to look up the article or journal title in the McGill Library catalogue in order to find the full text PDF.

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