Skip to Main Content

Medical Scholarship: Database Comparison Charts

A handy guide for your medical scholarship adventures

Choices, choices, choices!

The Rowan-Virtua SOM Health Sciences Library offers access to more than 95 databases, with another 300 available through the Campbell Library on the main campus.  A large percentage of the citations in the databases include full-text.  Since these are paid subscription resources, the system will require you to use Duo authentication.  You'll find the list of these and other databases at the Health Sciences Library web site under the button for "Medical Resources".

Interested in "gray literature"?  Scroll down for a list of some of the best sites to find those resources.   Happy searching! 

Feel free to email me at if you need help.

Choosing Your Main Databases






PubMed® comprises more than 30 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

The new version of PubMed claims you do not need to use the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).  Use a few precise terms and avoid run-on sentences.  If your search does not seem to include all you thought it would, go to the MeSH Database (or go through the terms assigned to the best articles) and try the search again.    

Open a free account at NCBI (see the tab in the PubMed site). 

New PubMed truncates and catches synonyms and variant spellings.


Over 32 million records, including Medline.  More than 2,900 journals unique to Embase. Full-text drug, disease and medical device data. Good coverage of conference proceedings.

Emtree is the name of the keyword index/thesaurus, but system suggests terms based on keywords entered.

Option to run search as a PICO question.

Can email results from the search screen.

Web of Science

The Web of Science core collection includes such databases as Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index and more. 

Fairly straight-forward searching.  Gives number of times a citation was used and cited. Can ask system to analyze your results into categories. 

Links to EndNote.


75 million records.  Abstract and citation database.  Better coverage of social sciences and physical sciences than of health and life sciences.  Searches many textbooks.

Less intuitive search engine, but a very nice ‘Advanced Search Tutorial’ (less than 3 minutes). 

Can bulk retrieve results in .pdf format. 

Grey Literature: what is it and where do I get it?

Materials and research produced by organizations outside of the traditional commercial or academic publishing and distribution channels. Common grey literature publication types include reports (annual, research, technical, project, etc.), working papers, government documents, white papers and evaluations. Organizations that produce grey literature include government departments and agencies, civil society or non-governmental organizations, academic centres and departments, and private companies and consultants.  (Wikipedia).  Below you will find some places to look for grey literature.

Other Databases to Consider




GenderWatch supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) studies; family studies; gender studies, and women's studies with a unique interdisciplinary approach. Combining hundreds of academic, gray, and popular literature titles.  GenderWatch provides researchers with hundreds of thousands of articles on wide-ranging topics like sexuality, religion, societal roles, feminism, masculinity, eating disorders, day care, and the workplace.

APA: PsychInfo

APA PsycInfo® provides access to international literature in psychology and related disciplines. Such disciplines include: psychiatry, education, business, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, law, linguistics, and social work. Nearly all records contain non-evaluative summaries, and all records from 1967 to the present are indexed using the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms.


OSTMED.DR® is an osteopathic medicine digital library created by a partnership between Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and VTLS, Inc. in 2006.  OSTMED.DR® provides full text for much content within the repository, as well as being full-text indexed and searchable.  OSTMED.DR® is endorsed by the AOA and AACOM and funded by VCOM through the Harvey W. Peters Foundation.


SPORTDiscus is the leading bibliographic database for sports and sports medicine research. It includes millions of records from leading sports medicine journals, books, dissertations and more. Subjects covered include nutrition, physical therapy, occupational health, exercise physiology and kinesiology.

 Cochrane Library

A collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.  The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is the leading resource for systematic reviews in health care. Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs) provide a readable, digestible, clinically-focused entry point to rigorous research from Cochrane Reviews. They are designed to be actionable and to inform point-of-care decision-making. Each CCA contains a clinical question, a short answer, and data for the outcomes from the Cochrane Review deemed most relevant to practising healthcare professionals, our target audience. The evidence is displayed in a user-friendly tabulated format that includes narratives, data, and links to graphics.