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HEA 201 Personal Health   Tags: evaluating_online_sources, hea_201, peachey, public_health  

Guide to evaluating web sources and to finding peer reviewed journal articles for Andy Peachey's HEA 201 course.
Last Updated: Feb 5, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Librarian Picks for Background Research

Online Health Information Sources

MedlinePlus: Online guide to health information and health web sites vetted by health professionals and by medical librarians. From the National Library of Medicine.

HON Search for the Patient: Guide to online health information.  Sites have been screened for ethical presentation of health information, NOT for accuracy. Provided by Health on the Net (HON) Foundation.

Evaluating Online Health Information

If you like to browse the Internet before looking for peer reviewed sources on your topic, remember to read Internet sources with a critical eye.

  • All Internet domains are not created equal - .gov and .edu are usually authoritative; how about .org?
  • Look around the page itself for more evidency of authority, point of view (bias?), currency, etc.

Guides to evaluating online health information:

Some library subscriptions that provide background information on health topics...

Gale Virtual Reference Library: Online collection of encyclopedias, including health and medical care texts.

Consumer Health Complete: Encyclopedia articles, images, videos, and much more on a variety of health topics.


Get Help!

University Libraries AskUs service can answer research and citation questions.

The Writing Center can answer citation questions and help with work at any stage of the writing process.


Look for Journal Articles

Academic Search Complete - Our largest multi-disciplinary database. A great place to start research on almost any topic.

CINAHL - Articles for health professionals

  1. Type a topic: cell phones and health
  2. In the search limits, set publication dates
  3. The more limits you set, the fewer results you will get

Each citation (list of publication details) begins with a hyperlink. Hit it to see:

  • Abstract (paragraph describing the article)
  • Subject links – lead to other articles on this topic

To look for the full text of the article:

  • PDF full text = the whole article
  • Check for full text = a link to the article online from another database OR an Interlibrary Loan link

Cite Your Sources

Cite your sources!

  • No matter where you found them
  • Even if you don't see a copyright symbol
  • Even if you put the information into your own words

APA is an author-date style.  For each of your sources, look for -

  • Author(s)
  • Date 
  • Title(s)
  • Location 

Then find a good example of someone else citing the same kind of thing that you're citing.

  • The OWL @ Perdue APA Formatting
  • University Libraries APA Style
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed - Kept at Jackson Library Checkout Desk (2 hour checkout) and at Reference & Government Info Desk (can't be checked out)

Health Sciences Librarian

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Lea Leininger

Is it a research article?

Research articles describe an experiment (or a carefully structured observational study) that was performed by the authors of the article.

Which of these is a research report?


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