Research Assistance

Research Support and Consultation

Expert Literature Search Service

Literature Search Request Form

The Medical Library provides Literature Search Services to support SIU students, staff, faculty, and residents’ educational and research needs. 

Library faculty will:
•    Develop a robust search strategy based on the information provided by the requestor
•    Provide the search string and results via a word document and/or .RIS file for bibliographic management programs

​​​​​​Library Faculty will not:
•    Synthesize data or otherwise interpret results.  
•    Complete literature searches for course assignments; such requests require a search consultation as part of the library’s educational mission.

Requesters should submit a fully formed research question with as many details and keywords as possible. If the search request is too vague or broad, library faculty may ask the requester to revise and resubmit the request and/or require a meeting to further develop the research question. For additional information on how to formulate a research question, please visit Responsible Literature Searches and PICO LibGuide

Searches conducted on fee-based databases (i.e. PsycInfo, Embase, etc.) will incur charges to recover the costs of online access and the downloading of search results. These searches must be approved for payment in advance by the department fiscal officer or paid by personal check.

The Medical Library currently offers three types of literature searches, each with varying deliverables and turn-around times. 

  • Tier 1 – Rapid Review: Results will provide researchers with a sense of the existing literature and will be adequate for initial stages of research. 1-2 days turnaround time.
  • Tier 2 – Scoping Search: Results will be more comprehensive than tier 2 and will be sufficient for a literature review but not a systematic review. In most cases multiple librarians will review the search. A meeting with library faculty is encouraged but not required. 1 week turnaround time. 
  • Tier 3 – Comprehensive Search: Results of this search may not be exhaustive enough to serve as the basis of a systematic review or meta-analysis, but will be substantially more developed than tiers 1 and 2. A meeting with library faculty is required for tier 3 requests. Two or more weeks turnaround time depending on scope.


*Due to the in-depth and time-intensive nature of this work, library faculty can only work on a limited number of literature searches at a time. The service may not be immediately available if we have already reached our maximum capacity. In such cases we will contact you with an estimated start date.

Ask a Question

Our staff is here to help you with the following:

  • find quick, factual information
  • find relevant books, journals and multimedia
  • develop an effective search strategy for finding information; evaluate the information to answer the question
  • access services, materials and resources within the library
  • assistance and training on using our resources.

For questions that only require a short answer -  Ask a Question Form