CPD Vestibular Assessment and Management

R23–1005 HCDI60022

Library for Educators
7 min readFeb 6, 2023

Supporting materials


  • Group: 11
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Room: small lecture theatre/computer cluster so students can follow along
  • Discipline: Medical/health sciences
  • Level: PG

Suggested online resources

Learning outcomes

After engaging with this support, you will be able to:

  • Generate relevant search terms
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of certain search tools
  • Conduct a systematic search

Session content

The workshop is centred on one search example which is used by all the class. This ensures that everyone has can see the same set of results when we demonstrate the databases, so the result can be used to illustrate specific points.

The aim of the workshop is to teach students how to generate effective search terms and demonstrate the functionality of some key specialist databases

The research topic used in this workshop is:

Critically appraise the evidence base for two management strategies for posterior canal BPPV (benign paroxysmal rotatory vertigo).

Slides 1–2 Introduction

Outline what the session will cover:

  • The searching process
  • Identifying search terms
  • Building your search in a database
  • Further support from the Library

Slide 3–4 — The searching process

Highlight that students should consider these three questions before getting started with their search.

  • What am I looking for? (key concepts/search terms)
  • Where will I look for it? (choosing platforms/databases/search tools)
  • How will I look for it? (which search strategies should I use?)

Slide 4 — Reassure students that searching is an iterative process and involves trial and error. You will need to try out different terms to see how they impact your results, your initial results can also give you ideas for additional search terms.

Slide 5 — Identify the key concepts

Introduce the example topic question we will be using throughout the session: “Critically appraise the evidence base for two management strategies for posterior canal BPPV (benign paroxysmal rotatory vertigo).”

Ask students to identify the key concepts in the question and call them out.

Slide 6- Reveal the key concepts in bold.

Slide 7 - Activity: Ask students to come up with as many relevant search terms as possible for the example question, adding their ideas to the Google Jamboard.

Slide 8–10 Combining your terms

Once students have had a go at coming up with their own search terms, show them an example of how to organise search terms for the different concepts.

Breakdown of search terms

Explain that each list of search terms can be strung together with Boolean/search operators. The Venn diagram on slide 9 shows an early formation of a search strategy for the example question (this does not mean it is perfect!).

Slide 11–13 Where will I look for it? Choosing your databases

Introduce students to key Library resources which will help them get started with their search. Point them to the subject guides on the Library website, which give a list of relevant specialist databases which they should use for their work. Emphasize that these databases are aimed at professionals in healthcare/audiology.

Slide 14 — Demonstration/Hands-on

The class should have logged on to the library homepage ready for the hands-on aspect of the workshop.

For the first demonstration the attendees will be shown how to find Ovid Medline from the Subject Guides. This ensures the attendees are aware of how to find databases that may not be familiar to them.

For the subsequent demonstrations the attendees will be shown how to in the other databases via the A-Z list of databases.

Slide 14 Ovid — Medline demo

The first search will be carried out in Medline in the Advanced Search mode. Before starting the search in Medline explain the differences between Medline and PubMed. PubMed is the free version of Medline, which is the interface of the US medical government department so they make it publicly available. Medline has more functionality for searching systematically and narrowing down your search.

The selling point of many of the Ovid databases is the MeSH trees function. MeSH trees are available on most Ovid health sciences databases.

To show the difference between free text results and MeSH results there will be a few searches using both free text terms and MeSH.

  1. The first search will be a free text search for the term “dizziness” (approx 6325 results). The point of this is to show the vast totals of results for just one word. Open the scope notes for the term “dizziness” to show that this is an imprecise term, which is different to vertigo.
  2. Then search for “vertigo” with “map to subject heading” ticked and choose the MeSH heading “Benign Paroxysmal positional vertigo” (approx 1192 results). Note the dramatic reduction in results with this, more precise, term. Explain to students that searching using MeSH headings means that the term used will be the main subject of the results. Whereas, a keyword search picks up results which mention the term at any point in the paper, even if just in passing. Search for vertigo again, this time selecting it as a key word rather than a MESH term, and show students the difference in results.
  3. The third search for the term “posterior canal” will be carried out as a key word search. Note that the MESH term “circular canals” is available but that relates to the three different canals in the inner ear, not just the posterior canal.
  4. For the fourth search use the term “Epley manoeuvre”; there is no MESH term for this so choose to search it as a keyword. Note that patient positioning is available as a MESH term, and suggest that students should test out combinations of terms to see which produce the best results. Highlight how Ovid allows you to search each term on a separate line so you can see exactly how many results each is returning. Highlight to students that the MESH terms available in the databases are impacted by its intended audience. Medline is aimed at a range of medical professionals, rather than ComDisDome which is aimed at audiologists.
  5. For the fifth search type “particle repositioning” as a key word.
  6. Draw the searches together by combining 4 and 5 with OR, then combine those terms with search 2 and 3 using AND (approx 21 results)
  7. Show how to refine this search by limiting it to last 5 years

You should have a table that looks similar to this:

Ovid — Medline practice search

Slide 15 — ComDisDome demo:

The second search demo will be carried out in ComDisDome using the advanced search option. ComDisDome is the key specialist database for human communication and is aimed at professionals in speech and language and audiology.

Highlight that this database does not have MESH headings available, as the ProQuest platform has less functionality on it than Ovid. However, this does not mean the database is less useful. For this reason, it might make sense to begin your search on a platform like Ovid in order to find the best terms, then copy these terms over to a smaller database.

  1. On the first search line type terms related to dizziness/vertigo e.g. rotatory vertigo or BPPV
  2. On the second search line type in terms related to the treatments e.g. epley manoeuvre or particle repositioning manoeuvre or epley maneuver (American spelling)
  3. Show students how to narrow down their search to a certain date range using the filters on the left hand panel

Slides 16 Other search tools

Introduce some additional tools students can use to refine their search:

  • Truncation
  • Phrase searching

Note the caveat that truncation and phrase searching aren’t supported in all databases e.g. the Ovid platform doesn’t necessarily recognise/use phrase searching and truncation whereas other smaller databases do.

Slides 17–20

Show students the package of asynchronous resources on Blackboard and encourage them to use this to refer back to/supplement their knowledge.

Highlight the many resources available for support with searching and other academic skills, as well the enquiries service:

Online resources:

From the systematic review section:

  • 1.3 Introduction to the Library — replace link to psychology guide with link to Human communication and deafness guide.
  • Please also add the systematic review libguide
  • 1.1 Searching within health science databases
  • 1.4 Formulating your research question — change example question to (change in two places) “Critically appraise the evidence base for two management strategies for posterior canal BPPV (benign paroxysmal rotatory vertigo).”
  • 1.6 Utilising advanced search techniques — change to “What other terms/concepts are similar to “Epley manoeuvre” which is one of the treatments for BPPV? Epley manoeuvre OR epley maneuver (American spelling) OR Epley and brant daroff. It is important to consider if any of your key terms have an alternative spelling in American English, otherwise you could miss out on a great number of relevant results which were published in America.”
  • 1. 8 Additional search tools
  • 1.9 Making a mesh of things (delete/do not include “suggested study tip” and everything below this)
  • 2.2 Common myths about databases
  • 2.3 Organising your references — please hyperlink the referencing guide where it is mentioned in the text

From searching content include: 1.0 Subject databases and 1.7 accessing full text from subject databases

Internal ID: R23–1006



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