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Lesson 1: Why Is This Important?


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Introduction to information literacy for the health sciences.

Introduction to information literacy for the health sciences.

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  • 1. Information Literacy for the Health Science Student Lesson 1: Why Is This Important?
  • 2. Where can you start? Doing research in health and medical topics could have many pitfalls. Discerning reliable and authoritative health information from the deluge of questionable health related resources on the Internet are difficult. The problem is compounded if you, as a student, are new to the study of health and medical information.
  • 3. Working Definition The Medical Library Association has devised a working definition of health information literacy. It reads, “Health Information Literacy is the set of abilities needed to: recognize a health information need; identify likely information sources and use them to retrieve relevant information; assess the quality of the information and its applicability to a specific situation; and analyze, understand, and use the information to make good health decisions.”
  • 4. Reliable Resources In this course we will focus on authoritative and reliable resources that you can use for your academic research. The resources will help you obtain the best information available for your academic and professional.
  • 5. We will be direct! Reliable health sciences information is very important. The wrong information can hurt your grade in class. In life, outside of class, the wrong information may endanger lives. We will point you to reliable and authoritative resources for both class and life.
  • 6. Why Is This Important? As a professional in the health sciences you will need to relate important health information to the people you serve. You will help people make proper health decisions. You’re not just writing a paper, you’re learning a skill. Think of your class assignments as practice for the future. Start with proper health information literacy habits now and they will be natural in your professional life.
  • 7. Health Information Literacy Think about this! "Studies show as many as half of all adults in all socio- economic levels struggle with health literacy, defined as the ability to read, understand and act on spoken and written health information from medical professionals.” Wall Street Journal July 3, 2003
  • 8. Thinking of the People You Will Serve In a September 2012 survey of adult Internet users, 72% of the respondents said that they looked online for health information within the past year.
  • 9. What Are They Using? 77% of online health seekers say they began their information seeking at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
  • 10. Seeking Advice • The facts are 35% of U.S. adults say that at one time or another they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. • One in five Internet users have consulted online reviews and rankings of health care service providers and treatments. • Additionally, 18% of Internet users, or 13% of adults, have gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. People living with chronic and rare conditions are significantly more likely to do this.
  • 11. Patients Trust the Web Earlier surveys reveal that 75% of health information-seeking adults on the Internet rarely or never checks the source or date of the information they have found. Among the health information- seeking adults, 72% express trust in most or all information they have found online Source: Fox, S. Vital Decisions (2003). Online Health Search (2006). Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • 12. They Trust Healthcare Providers More When people have questions related to a health issue, their healthcare providers are the most trusted information source.
  • 13. You Will Be That Trusted Healthcare Professional Now is the time for you to learn about the best tools for health and medical information. Resources are freely available that you can share confidently with others. These resources can be used throughout your professional life.
  • 14. The Class Assignment For now your classwork is paramount. As with assignments in every academic field it is important to do your research in an organized way. Organizing your research saves you time and increases the quality of results.
  • 15. Thinking It Through If you have the option of selecting to choose your own research topic, make it is a subject that interests you. Satisfying your curiosity makes the work much more enjoyable and you may already know a great deal about the topic.
  • 16. Adequate Resources When selecting your topic you should ask if there are adequate resources available to you in order to develop the topic? Check with a librarian to see if the information you need is available through the library. The librarian can help you locate materials whether in the library or from other libraries using inter-library loan.
  • 17. How soon is the paper due? Adequate Time Finding the right materials takes time. Reading your research takes time. Writing the paper takes time. When selecting a topic make sure that you can manage your time to do the research, acquire information and the properly compose your paper.
  • 18. Is your theme too broad or too narrow? Finding the right balance takes thought. This can be difficult. You might start with a topic and find there’s not enough time or resources to do exactly what you need to do. Be flexible enough to broaden or narrow your research to meet class deadlines.
  • 19. Test Yourself Test yourself to see what you already know about the topic. Create a list of words that you feel are relevant to your research interest. The more you can focus your thoughts the easier the research will be.
  • 20. Too Broad Writing a paper about “diabetes” is much too broad a concept. • A PubMed database search for diabetes will return over 320,000 records. • A CINAHL database search for diabetes will return over 42,000 records.
  • 21. Better Writing about “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” is better but still too broad. • A PubMed search for diabetes mellitus AND insulin- dependent will return over 24,000 records. • A CINAHL search for diabetes mellitus AND insulin- dependent will return over 16,000 records.
  • 22. Even Better Writing about "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and the aged over 65” is focusing more. But, it’s still too broad. • A PubMed search for diabetes mellitus AND insulin-dependent AND aged over 65 returns over 4000 records. • A CINAHL search for diabetes mellitus AND insulin-dependent AND aged over 65 returns over 400 records.
  • 23. Ask Yourself Some Questions You are writing about this topic for a reason. It's either your own interest or something your professor feels that you should know. Focus your thoughts by determining what you want to learn from the research. Construct questions that ask, "What do I want to know about this topic?"
  • 24. Question Examples Here are a few examples based on the searches above: • How do the elderly cope with insulin-dependence on their own? • Does “self-care” give the insulin- dependent elderly a sense of empowerment over their disease? • What are the social implications of insulin-dependence for the elderly?
  • 25. Information Type? Once you have formulated a topic question or proposition, determine the type of information that you will need. • Case Report (or series) - "descriptive study of a group of people, usually receiving the same treatment or with the same disease." • Clinical Practice Guideline - "systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient making decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances." • Evidence-based Practice - articles that reflect "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients" • Technical Report - documents that describe the process, progress, and or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem or something else.
  • 26. Over the next few sessions we will look at the resources you need to consider when doing research. Do the student activity for this lesson. After that proceed to the next lesson. Revised Wednesday, February 18, 15