Lost in Translation: Supporting learners to search comprehensively across databases


  • Robin MN Parker Dalhousie University
  • Maggie J Neilson Acadia University




instruction, literature searching, systematic reviews, knowledge synthesis


Abstract: Introduction: Health sciences librarians play the key role of expert searcher for knowledge synthesis research projects. When students and trainees conduct systematic reviews as academic assignments, academic librarians train learners to search comprehensively for evidence in multiple sources. Description: The authors created an electronic toolkit with handouts and a video tutorial to support instruction on translating search strategies to various databases. Outcomes: The toolkit was well received by users, who provided constructive feedback and reported an increase in comfort with translating searches. Refinements based on the assessment results will improve the tools and supplemental resources will address some gaps in coverage. Most users still expressed the need to consult with a librarian for further training and review of their searches. Discussion: Trainees who need to conduct their own comprehensive searches for academic work will benefit from a variety of training tools to suit different levels of experience and learning styles. Electronic instructional resources such as handouts and videos can effectively supplement hands-on training and feedback from a health sciences librarian.

Author Biographies

Robin MN Parker, Dalhousie University

Information Services Librarian W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library Cross-appointed: Department of Community Health and Epidemiology

Maggie J Neilson, Acadia University

Academic Librarian

Acadia University

Vaughan Memorial Library


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How to Cite

Parker, R. M., & Neilson, M. J. (2015). Lost in Translation: Supporting learners to search comprehensively across databases. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 36(2), 54–58. https://doi.org/10.5596/c15-014



Program Descriptions