Basic Research: Health and Biomedical InformationLesson 2A Warner Memorial Library PresentationEastern University, St. Davids, PA
with Mark D. PuterbaughInformation Services Librarianmputerba@eastern.edu610-341-1461
What’s behind it? ”Where do I find ideas for a research topic?" This lesson provides a general overview of the resources students may overlook as they prepare their papers. There are many resources to aide in defining and refining a research theme. Newspapers, media, dictionaries and encyclopedias and authoritative websites are important tools for the researcher.
Lesson 2: Find Background Information Looking into popular, consumer oriented, information resources can unlock words and ideas that are helpful in understanding a subject. Additionally, authoritative reference works, government resources, and information from professional organizations may provide important background information for research.
A. Look for background information in the news. Health topics are important in the popular media. They make the news. Recently swine flu (H1N1) made the headlines. Every major news source carried articles about the outbreak. The New York Times created maps of the United States showing the areas most affected by the flu. The National Library of Medicine's Medline Magazine provided coverage of the outbreak and prevention related news stories including an interactive tutorial. CNN created a webpage to specifically answer questions about swine flu. All the news sources presented background information on the history of the outbreak, treatment and social impact on the world's population.
Resources for Consumer Oriented health and medical information: Newspapers Magazines Trade journals News Digests News Media I’ll demonstrate using the word list in a search!
B. Use A Variety Reference Works Encyclopedias and dictionaries are wonderful resources. Never use a reference as your only or primary source. Reference works are too general for serious research. They are important sources for words and ideas commonly associated with a topic, a place to begin!! By gathering background data the student can control the course of their research. I’ll demonstrate using the word list in a search of some online reference works!
C. Use authoritative websites Even in the early stages of gathering background information, the need for authoritative information from the world wide web is essential. The question is, “What constitutes an authoritative website?” Generally speaking websites with the following domain identification can be trusted. .gov .edu .org But, with anything from the Internet it is necessary to evaluate information against other authorities to assure the quality of the information. As with any reference work, information from a single website should not be the sole basis for your research.
Use government sites for news and information: Center for Disease Control National Institutes for Health U.S. Food and Drug Administration Department of Health and Human Services Medline Plus – National Library of Medicine I’ll demonstrate!
Use academic sites for news and information: Oncolink (University of Pennsylvania) Family Health Guide (Harvard University) Your Disease Risk (Washington University) Chronic Disease Management (UC Davis) HIVInsite – (UC San Francisco) I’ll demonstrate!
Use professional organization sites for news and information: American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses Oncology Nursing Society I’ll demonstrate!
Use commercial sites for health and medical news and information: eMedicinehealth WebMD Mayo Clinic Medscape Medpage Today I’ll demonstrate!
D. Use indexes to find additional terms and focus searching. Citation Indexes (like CINAHL or PubMed) are more than places to find articles. Indexes contain a wealth of additional terms (subject headings, author's names, journal titles, keywords) that may help you track information in ways not normally considered Medical Subject Headings (MESH) are searchable from PubMed.gov. MESH returns listings of proper subject headings for medical terminology along with brief explanations (scope notes) of the words. The terms can be used in PubMed, but may be useful in a variety of other databases. I’ll demonstrate!
E. Use subject specific bibliographies and indexes. Subject specific bibliographies are complied for and by researchers in a particular field. They provide information on a level deeper and more focused than general databases or bibliographies. Again, note, that due to the nature of book publishing even the latest edition of a subject specific bibliography may contain older information. It is necessary to verify the validity of any information from this resource. Take the time to verify all your resources. I’ll demonstrate!
End of Lesson 2Please answer the questions for this lesson.After completing the questions begin Lesson 3.