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Search Assistance

Search Assistance Services are available, at no cost, to NOSM University faculty, learners, and staff. However, it is expected that learners perform searches themselves for any curriculum related assignments; librarians can provide advice on search strategies, assistance with terminology, and guidance to/instruction on appropriate databases.

We also offer fee for service literature searches to non-affiliates of NOSM University. Please note, literature search services offered to non-affiliates of NOSM University do not include searches for systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, or any of the other more complex/comprehensive search types.

Literature Search Services

A literature search is a well thought out and organized search for all of the literature published on a topic. A well-structured literature search is the most effective and efficient way to locate sound evidence on the subject you are researching. Evidence may be found in books, journals, government documents, and on the internet.

Upon receiving a literature search request, a librarian will search related online databases, and provide a list of results to NOSM University users, based on a given topic.

What to expect:

  • A brief consultation will occur (usually via email) once the topic is received. The librarian will clarify search particulars and provide an approximate timeline for completion.
  • The librarian will utilize their expertise to search related databases for the given topic.
  • The librarian will provide a list of references including authors, titles, journal sources, and if available, abstracts. The results do not include full articles. Results will be sent electronically via a RefWorks shared folder unless otherwise requested.

Please note that it is not the responsibility of the librarian to select the most appropriate articles from the list of results.

How to request a literature search:

Please use our web request form. A Librarian will follow-up within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. If this does not occur, please contact for further assistance.

Fee for Service Literature Search

The Health Sciences Library offers non-affiliates of NOSM University fee for service literature searches. Literature search services offered to non-affiliates of NOSM University do not include searches for: systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, or any of the other more complex/comprehensive search types.

  • Non-profit, non-affiliates (e.g. health agencies, health professionals without access to a medical library, etc.). Fee: $75 per topic (plus HST).
  • For profit, non-affiliates (e.g. businesses, etc.). Fee: $150 per topic (plus HST).

Preferred method of payment: Credit card.

Deliverables include: A PubMed link to search results. The link of results will be emailed to the requestor within 10 business days of receiving the search request (not including holidays/closures).

Due to licensing restrictions we are unable to provide full-text results, however, requestors are welcome to visit the Library to access the full-text results available from our collection.

How to request a fee for service literature search:

Literature search requests can be submitted using our web request form. For more information email

Systematic Reviews or Meta-Analyses

A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question. The key characteristics of a systematic review are:

  • A clearly stated set of objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies;
  • An explicit, reproducible methodology;
  • A systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that would meet the eligibility criteria;
  • An assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies, and a systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies

In addition to performing the literature search necessary for this type of research, systematic review, or meta-analysis collaboration with a librarian may also include:

  • Help defining the research question;
  • Recommending keyword and/or controlled vocabulary for inclusion in research protocol;
  • Ability to target specific databases and other resources to be searched;
  • Performing search updates in selected databases

The librarian will write the literature search methodology section for the submitted manuscript, maintain records of search results, and follow-up with alerts and updates as needed.

Librarians are co-authors on systematic review collaborations.

How to request a systematic review or meta-analysis collaboration:

For all systematic review, meta-analysis or scoping review requests please book a research consultation with a librarian:
Once your request for a research consultation is received, a Librarian will be in touch with you to set up mutually convenient time to talk about your review.
For more information about systematic reviews check out our Systematic Reviews Subject Guide: