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Performing Better Research Tips for finding good, relevant, health information resources.

by jody-mclaughlin





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  • Slide 1
  • Performing Better Research Tips for finding good, relevant, health information resources
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  • What can I do to find good, relevant health information resources? Guidelines for Finding and Evaluating Reliable Health Information on the Web Features of the PubMed/Medline database that can be used for Nursing Research
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  • Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web As you have discovered, clicking on a favorite search engine and entering a disease or medical condition results in hundreds, even thousands of “hits.” Here are a few ideas for filtering pages to a manageable number.
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  • Getting Started If you are using a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, take advantage of the health subsets in these. Learn how to use the advanced searching features so you can combine terms to make results more precise. For example, entering the term “cancer” and “chemotherapy” linked together is more powerful than simply entering the general term “cancer.”
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  • Credible Web Sites for health information Become familiar with the general health information finding tools such as MedlinePlus produced by the National Library of Medicine. Healthfinder from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Medical Library Association’s “Top Ten” list can also help get you started.
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  • Content Evaluation Guidelines: Is the information credible, timely and useful? Sponsorship and Author Currency Factual Information Audience
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  • Sponsorship Can you easily identify the website’s sponsor? Sponsorship helps establish the site as respected and dependable. Does the site list advisory board members or consultants? This may give you further insights about the information published on the site.
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  • Web Address The web address itself provides information about the nature of the site. A government agency ends An educational institution is indicated Professional organizations such as a scientific or research society will be identified, i.e. the Cancer Society’s website is
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  • Commercial Sites Be aware sites are often used to sell products. But, many commercial websites may have valuable and credible information. Many hospitals in their address. The site should fully disclose the identities of organizations that contribute funds and materials to the site.
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  • Currency The site should be updated frequently. The Website should be consistently available, with the date of the latest revision clearly posted – usually at the bottom of the page.
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  • Factual Information Information should be presented in a clear manner. Factual information should be capable of being verified by primary information sources such as the professional literature, abstracts, or links to other Web pages. Information represented as an opinion should be clearly stated as such and the source should be identified as a qualified professional or organization.
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  • Audience The Website should clearly state whether the information is intended for the consumer or the health professional. Many health information Websites have two different areas - one for consumers, one for professionals. The design of the site should make selection of one area over the other clear to the user.
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  • PubMed It is a freely accessible online database of biomedical journal citations and abstracts created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM®). It is the premiere bibliographic database used by medical researchers and librarians, worldwide. It is free to everyone at http://pubmed.gov It contains over 5,000 journal titles from the 1950’s to today.
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  • PubMed Simple Search Example: Enter your search terms in the query box. Let’s try “bad breath causes”. Click the Go button.
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  • PubMed displays the results Pubmed found 452 articles To see how PubMed interpreted your results, click on the Details tab.
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  • Automatic Term Mapping to MeSH PubMed uses Automatic Term Mapping to find MeSH terms, to optimize the search. The MeSH database contains Medical Subject Heading Terms. These terms are applied to every article indexed.
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  • Mapping to MeSH Terms for Better Searching PubMed mapped “bad breath” to the MeSH term, halitosis. PubMed mapped causes to the MeSH subheading, etiology. The inclusion of MeSH terms greatly enhances the search strategy. Click Results, or back arrow key, to return to results list.
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  • Navigating Results: Abstracts and Full-Text Looking at your results list, abstracts can be read when the page icon to the right-hand side has lines, indicating writing. Icons with a green or orange bar across the top, indicates full-text access. Click the blue author bar or page icon to read the abstract, or to access the full-text.
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  • PubMed’s Abstract View Viewing the abstract is a valuable way to judge whether an article is relevant to your needs. This example also has a free, full-text link at the upper left where you can access the full article. Use Back Arrow to return to Results List.
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  • Limits Tab Within a PubMed search, you can choose the Limits Tab to help make your search more specific. Limits will also help make your search results more relevant.
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  • Using Limits in PubMed You can limit your search by full text, age group, gender, human or animal studies, languages, publication types, dates, and by other parameters. Limits also includes a search builder for specific authors and journals. We will focus on Nursing Journals and other publication types.
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  • Limits: Nursing Journals Limit your search to Nursing Journals Click this box under Journal Groups in the Subsets window, about halfway down the Limits page. Click the Go button at the bottom of the Limits page.
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  • Nursing Journals Results Your results are limited to only those articles that appear in Nursing Journals. In this search example you get only five articles in Nursing Journals related to the causes of bad breath. Un tick the checkmark next to Limits to clear.
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  • Limits: Publication Type The “Publication Type” limit will restrict your search to different types of articles. Clinical Trial Editorial Letter Meta-Analysis Practice Guideline Randomized Controlled Trial Review
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  • Limits - Publication Type: Review, Practice Guidelines Review Articles provide survey published literature for trends and wider implications than single-institute studies. These types of articles are often viewed as having greater credibility. When available, Guidelines or Practice Guidelines are the gold standard for evidence as they are recommended by associations such as the American Nurses Association.
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  • PubMed Search: catheter placement Click the boxes next to Nursing Journals in the Subsets window. Also click the boxes next to Practice Guidelines and Review in the Type of Publications window. Click Go button
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  • Results for catheter placement with selected Limits 36 articles are returned when Nursing Journals, Practice Guideline and Review are selected from Limits page. 171 articles are returned with just Nursing Journals selected.
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  • Great list of articles, OR “I’m not finding what I need, now what?!” You’ve done the work and found a list of articles you think will help with your research paper and hone your nursing skills. How will you get these articles? After clicking and unclicking countless PubMed search box criteria, you are still not finding the articles you need. Where can I get help with this?
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  • Ask your Medical Librarian! We can: Save you time and money by obtaining costly articles. Borrow books from other libraries. Provide training in using databases. Perform literature searches for you. Help set up Table of Contents alerting, or search alerts.
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  • Medical Librarians will also: Gather evidence for policy and procedure recommendations. Compile reading lists and bibliographies on a given topic. Obtain articles needed for Continuing Education, exams, or Board Certification. Help organize journal clubs. Assist patients with consumer health information and websites.
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  • Nurses+Librarians=LOVE!
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