Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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Research and Clinical Effectiveness
Factsheet 3
- Electronic Research Databases


As indicated some of these are available on the web

Best Evidence (

This is the electronic version of the ACP Journal Club and the Evidence-based series of Journals. It offers summaries of articles and expert commentaries.

BIDs (Social Science)

This is a social science database which is available through many university and college libraries but not usually through the health service libraries.

British Nursing Index (BNI)

This is a British index of nursing articles and is very useful, although the contents are not quality assessed.


This large database covers details of articles related to nursing, health education and the allied professions. Being American it has a somewhat North American bias. The contents are not quality assessed.


The national database of clinical audits and health improvement which is managed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. A useful starting point when planning an audit. 020 7849 3444

Cochrane Library (

The Cochrane Library was set up to provide systematic reviews of research on important areas of health care. It initially focused on maternity services but now covers most areas of health care. The bias is medical because most research is conducted by doctors. Furthermore, it tends to discuss treatment options rather than service delighry but nevertheless it is an invaluable source of information and should be your starting point. The database is actually three databases: the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCTR) and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE). All the material included in Cochrane has been quality screened.

e-BMJ (

Full-text version of BMJ with many additional features not found in the printed copy. Requires a password. Current issue available on a Friday afternoon.


This is a medical database with a more European and pharmacological focus. It covers articles from 110 countries and 3500 Journals. It is not quality assessed.

Health STAR

This database contains management articles on health service development issues and health care delivery. It provides a useful alternative focus to the more clinical databases already described.

Medline (

This is the computerised version of Index Medicus. It is very useful, containing a vast amount of information. It has details of articles from over 3700 biomedical Journals. Its weaknesses for nurses are the medical and North American bias. It is not quality assessed.

National Electronic Library for Health (

As yet this is in its infancy but in the future it will prove a useful one stop source of health information. It will be available via the NHSnet. Its mission is to:

  • Provide easy access to current health information

  • To improve health and healthcare, clinical practice and patient choice.

Its first target is to provide access to best current knowledge for clincians within 15 seconds. A prototype primary care site is available (

National Research Register (

Database of NHS research in progress


This contains details of articles on all aspects of psychiatry and psychological focus. It is not quality assessed.


This database provides a meta-catalogue of approximately 10,000 evidence- based medicine-related records from some 30 evidence-based medicine sources and now provides a useful web based starting point for a search.


The main database of the Kings Fund, London. It covers a range of Journals on health management, health economics, health and social sciences. Good on primary care and the health of Londoners.

Professional Officer, Practice Development
September 2002