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Physical Therapy Resources: Research Databases


Research is often reported in the form of published journal articles.  Databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, ERIC, and Web of Knowledge gather this information into a searchable format.  Databases have different producers, so the appearance of the search engines varies. To address the issue of information overload, other databases have been developed to help busy clinicians find summaries of research - secondary literature.  These databases are listed first followed by databases which primarily present articles from research studies - the primary literature.

Summary or Background Information

UpToDate - Topic reviews in internal medicine, OB/GYN, family practice, and pediatrics.

Access Medicine - A searchable database of over 65 textbooks. Also includes information on differential diagnosis, drug information and multimedia content.

Clinical Key - Another online searchable reference tool containing the full text of numerous textbooks and journals.

National Guideline Clearinghouse - Freely available database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Sponsored by AHRQ.


Pedro - Database of randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy.  All RCTs are evaluated for quality and given a ranking.

PTNow - a website portal to help make it easier for clinicians to access and use existing knowledge in patient care and improve practice behaviors based on evidence.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews - Summaries of randomized controlled trials on a variety of topics.  Includes a controlled trials register and DARE - a database of systematic reviews not done by Cochrane.  A good starting point but be aware this is a small database, so not every topic is represented.

TRIP (Turning Research into Practice) - Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.  As well as research evidence we also allow clinicians to search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news.

PubMed Clinical Queries using Research Methodology Filters - Type in your topic and select a pre-formatted search filter to locate evidence-based articles.  Filters include etiology, diagnosis, therapy, prognosis, and clinical prediction guidelines.   

Research Studies

PubMed - provided by the National Library of Medicine. This is the premier database for medical, nursing, dental, and related literature.

CINAHL - Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health covers nursing, allied health, and consumer health literature.

SPORTDiscus - An international database of periodical articles, books, reports, and theses and dissertation on sports medicine, exercise psychology, biomechanics, training, coaching, physical education, and fitness.

Web of Knowledge - A good addition to your search toolkit. Often uncovers articles not found in PubMed or CINAHL.  Also has a Cited Author feature where you can see how many times a particular article has been cited and by whom.

PsycINFO - The most comprehensive database of psychology and psychosocial disciplines.

All UNM Databases - There are a whole host of additional databases available through UNM's University Libraries.  After clicking on this link, select from the alphabetical list to see Sociological Abstracts, ERIC (Education), etc.

Google Scholar - More focused than a general Google search and includes links to UNM full text subscriptions.  Primarily searches PubMed but also other scholarly works on the internet.


LoboVault - UNM's digital institutional repository.  All dissertations produced at UNM in the last few years are archived here.