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Law-Medicine Research Guide

This guide introduces law students to methods and resources frequently used in health law research.

Four Ways To Start

CWRU Online Catalog

You can find resources (books, journals, etc.) by typing your keyword search in the search box for CWRU Libraries' Catalog. If the item is not owned by CWRU or is unavailable for any reason, use the shared OhioLink Catalog search box.

While you may be accustomed to searching for book titles on topics of interest, the online catalog also allows you to search by Medical Subject Headings. Medical Subject Headings, or MESH headings, are assigned by the National Library of Medicine and are helpful with identifying medical topics. For example, John Freeman's Tough Decisions:  Cases in Medical Ethics, 2001, provides the researcher with both Library of Congress Subject Headings and Medical Subject Headings. As you see in this example, "Tough Decisions" is owned by our Law Library but contains significant content on medical procedures and clinical decision making.

If a book is unavailable or non-circulating, you might want to consider placing a OhioLink or Interlibrary Loan Request.  For more information, check here.  

HCL and Allen Libraries

Case Western Reserve University has two Health Sciences Libraries. The Health Center Library is located in the Robbins Building at the School of Medicine, 2109 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH  44106.  The Allen Memorial Medical Library is located at 1000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH  44106, across the street from Severance Hall. The Health Sciences Library Reference Service webpage provides ways to learn more about medical topics. The Finding Health Sciences Information guide helps with defining a subject and finding books and journal articles on a topic. The Subject Guides page provides links to some topical research guides including Health Information, a guide to federal agencies, national professional associations, research universities, and libraries.


The Law Library subscribes to the Bloomberg BNA Premier database service which provides current, sometimes daily, reports on the healthcare sector and many others. To access Bloomberg BNA, go the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library webpage and select "B" for "Bloomberg BNA Premier Subscription (BBNA)" from the Database List. The list of Professional Information Reports includes everything from federal case law summaries (i.e. "U.S. Law Week") to the "Health Law Resource Center" and the "Family Law Reporter -- Current Reports," to name a few. Also, you can sign up to receive email updates for each Bloomberg Report, Alert, and newsletter listed.

Each issue or report has a column called "Insights."  Contributed by attorneys from around the country, these columns feature the professional experiences and considerations of counsel, in their own words. This discussion offers further insight into the process of conflict resolution.

Electronic Journals and PubMed

Periodical literature in "law and medicine" is abundant. There are several ways of accessing this literature at CWRU and trying them out will help you identify the best search strategy for your topic.  

From The Judge Ben C. Green Law Library website, type in your keyword search in the search box for  CWRU Libraries' Catalog. If the item is not owned by CWRU or is unavailable for any reason, use the Shared Ohio Link Catalog search box. Your search will look for books, periodicals, AV materials, etc. If looking for legal research databases, you would click here for Law Library databases and resources.  

The Cleveland Health Sciences Library (CHSL) also has Electronic Journals on their website. Some of the journals have restricted access online but talk to a Law Reference Librarian about a specific request.  

The Kelvin Smith Library has a large number of searchable A-Z Databases online. These databases, more than 400 selections, cover a full range of research subjects and disciplines. The subject "Health Sciences" links to 42 databases. Identifying keywords, date parameters and, material type will be important for productively searching this large database collection. Use the Summon search box at the top of the webpage to construct a search of multiple resources at the same time.

The Cleveland Health Sciences Library has PubMed centrally placed on their website for instant access. Although PubMed is available free of charge to the public, accessing it from the CHSL website will increase the possibility of full-text search results because of agreements between the two libraries. Using the Medline with Full-Text database will provide links to full-text articles available via CWRU's Ebsco databases.    

The Pubmed Help page offers Tutorials and Topic-Specific Queries to guide new users. PubMed YouTube Tutorials introduce the search system and techniques for framing queries and managing results. Pubmed Special Queries is a Directory of  Topic Specific PubMed Queries that may jump start your research on selected topics.