Can the library help me carry out a Research Request?

Yes, the National Health Library & Knowledge Service has a team of professional librarians skilled in information managment. Your Research Request will be assigned to a librarian who will carry out searches on your behalf to identify journal articles, guidelines, systematic reviews and other evidence-based information to meet your requirements.


Who is the Research Request service available to?

The National Health Library & Knowledge Service offers a free Research Request service to eligible HSE staff. This service supports clinical and health service research and evidence based healthcare.

How do I submit a Research Request?

To submit a Research Request please complete the online Research Request form

If you encounter any difficulties in completing the form please contact your local HSE library


What information should I include when submitting a Research Request?

It is useful to provide as much information about your request as possible. Be clear about your focus and include keywords and phrases you think would be relevant. Also specify any limits e.g. publication date, population etc., and anything else you think might assist the librarian in carrying out the search.

The following is an example of a typical request

Any information on obesity in under 5 year olds?

After consultation with a librarian this translated to:

What are the most effective treatment programmes (internationally) for addressing the problem of obesity in the under 5 years olds?

Please note, some fields on the Research Request form are mandatory and these are marked with a red asterix. These must be completed in order to submit your Research Request.

How soon will I receive results to my request?

Standard Research Requests which can be described as a general search or a search which requires a set of references, full text documents, articles etc.  The timeframe is generally 2-4 days or 5-7 days and in some cases urgent.

For additional information on other types of requests, contact your local HSE library


In what format will I receive request results?

The results of the Research Request will be a list of bibliographic references with abstracts and/or links to websites (as appropriate to the topic). This will be emailed to you. If you have an Open Athens account you will be able to link out to the full text of the articles from journals to which the library has a subscription.

To apply for an Open Athens account complete the online application

To check the listing of online journals use the Journal Finder


How can I obtain full text copies of the references supplied?

If we do not have access to some of the references provided you can order these articles via our Journal Article Request Service. This is provided by your local HSE Library


Urgent requests –

 Please ring your local HSE library if your request is urgent.


Comments and Feedback about this service

The National Health Library & Knowledge Service is continually striving to improve and develop our services. We will contact you after you have received the results of your request, to ask if the information we provided met your requirements.

If you have any comments about this particular service or any other library services in the meantime, please let us know.

Appendix 1 – Link to eligible HSE staff

Only staff directly employed by the HSE are eligible to access this service. A valid HSE employee number is required as proof of eligibility.


Appendix 2 – Link to the following information

The National Research Request Service is a value-added service provided to HSE staff which underpins an evidence based approach to healthcare.  We encourage staff to fill out the online form to submit a Research Request.  This ensures all requests are tracked and answered appropriately.

There are three types of service for research requests – Type 1 (Standard), Type 2 (Programme) and Type 3 (Project) – which are explained below:

Type of query/request service level Standards of service response

Type 1 Standard Research Request

This is a general search or a search which requires a set of references, full text documents, articles etc.  The timeframe is generally 48 hours, 2-4 days or 5-7 days and in some cases urgent.

  • Standard research requests submitted electronically via the
  •  or HSE or Beaumont/St. Luke’s Hospital websiteare automatically received by 8 library staff and are checked daily.
  • A user can expect an immediate response from a librarian to assure them that their query has been received and is being allocated.  Once the request is allocated to a member of the library team, a standard operating procedure is followed to fulfil the request.
  • All standard research requests will be responded to within the timeframe specified by the user.  Queries marked as ‘urgent’ will be responded to within 24 hours.  All queries will be completed within 5-7 working days.
Type 2 Programme Research Request

Such requests are more in-depth and are used as an evidence base to inform e.g. national clinical effectiveness guidelines, National Cancer Control Programme guidelines, national clinical programmes and strategic management reports.

  • The librarian will contact the requestor to discuss the request in more detail and may arrange a meeting.
  • Such requests are generally answered within 2 weeks
  • The librarian will follow appropriate guidelines and standards e.g. NCEC, NCCP, DOH in compiling answers to Type 2 requests.
Type 3 Project Research Request

A project library research request is made directly to the Library Services Manager, of your local HSE Library.

Such requests are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.  This may involve a librarian attending multidisciplinary or project team meetings, including national steering groups or national project groups.  Generally there is a research element to the request.  For example the librarian is required to inform the research component of the project by supplying literature, carrying out research (e.g. surveys), providing evidence summaries and in some cases compiling literature reviews.

  • An initial response can be expected within 5 working days.
  • The librarian assigned will contact the requestor to discuss the request in more detail and may arrange a meeting.
  • The Library Services Manager makes every effort to accommodate such requests based on availability of staff and resources.