Special Types of Information
Nursing home > Special Types of Information
- Research Information and Studies
- Health Statistics
- Alternative/Complementary Medicine
- Consumer Health Information
- Patient Education
- Evidence Based Nursing
- Nursing History
- Drug Information
- Theses and Dissertations
In addition to the background information you find in books and videos, and the research you locate in periodical literature, other excellent sources Theses and Dissertations
Note: Access to the online subscription databases listed throughout this document is limited to currently registered students, faculty, and staff of Webster University. Complete lists of the databases available through the Library's website are available by following the link to Articles / Databases on the home page.
Note: Call numbers for print materials in the Webster University Library are provided in parentheses. Extended campus students may wish to check the catalog of your local library to see if the resource is available and where it is shelved.
Research articles are a special category of publications that report the findings of studies, surveys, and other primary research. For more information on how to identify primary research, please see the section of this guide on primary and secondary information. The CINAHL database is often a good starting point for nursing research articles. Most searches in CINAHL will include a combination of research and other scholarly articles, with some consumer health information and literature on practical applications of health topics (educating patients, creating nutrition plans, etc.). But how can you focus your search to research articles?
Adding the term "research" to your search strategy may retrieve a few articles, but there is a more effective way to retrieve research articles. Databases search for occurrences of terms, so they retrieve articles only if the article mentions the terms. It is very possible that an article may be based on primary research but does not include the term "research" in it's abstract - such an article would be missed.
|To focus your results to research literature:
Instead of using the word "research" in your search strategy, use CINAHL's special "publication type" limit called "research." This retrieves all articles classified as being based on primary research, regardless of whether they mention that term.
Governments and their agencies are excellent sources of health and demographic statistics. The US Government Printing Office is the largest publisher in the United States. US state and local governments also collect all kinds of information. With the advent of the Internet, much federal information is now distributed online. Our page on Health Administration includes some excellent government sources of health statistics.
|"Lies, damn lies, and statistics"*
If you intend to use and/or quote statistics in your research, be very careful--especially if you are using someone else's interpretation of the numbers and their significance. It is often best to find the original source of the statistics to make sure the statistical analysis is logical and is not taken out of context. Statistics can often be interpreted in different ways depending on one's point-of-view.
*Quote attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England
For the most current information on alternative and complementary medicine, begin by searching one or more of our databases.
Be as specific with your search terms as possible. For example, enter terms like validation therapy, or aromatherapy and stress.
The Webster University Library also has books on aspects of alternative and complementary medicine. Books are listed in the Library's online catalog. If you are outside the St. Louis area, check libraries in your area to see if they own similar titles on the subject.
Internet search engines can also provide you with links to many sites on alternative therapies; however, how do you know that the information you're seeing is credible, current, and accurate? The Library provides some links to credible alternative medicine information on its Healthcare/Medicine page. These sites have all been evaluated by reference librarians, who check to see that the information is coming from a reputable source. For more information on evaluating the information you find on the Internet, please see the evaluation section of this guide.
Consumer health information is written for a non-medical audience and is usually published in popular magazines (for example, Prevention, Consumer Reports on Health, or Shape) or popular books. Many Internet sites, like WebMD and MedicineNet.com, provide consumer health information as well.
Several databases index consumer health information. These databases will include a mix of articles and leaflet/pamphlet information that patients might refer to before a procedure or to learn more about a disease or condition. While some of the articles in these databases may refer to studies and primary research within the text of the article, they will rarely contain full citations to such studies.
If you are looking for research articles and literature directed toward a medical audience, it is better to search CINAHL or Medline. Both contain some consumer health information too (look for "special limiters" that limit your search to comsumer literature).
|Several databases index patient education materials. CINAHL has a special limiter called "publication type," which can help you restrict your search to patient education and teaching materials. Enter a keyword search, for example immunize, and select the teaching materials publication type.|
Databases that index consumer health information are also excellent sources of educational materials:
Some Internet sites post patient/consumer education information:
- Health Education Program (HEP) Database of Patient Education Materials This site from the American Academy of Family Physicians indexes brochures, fact sheets, posters, newsletters, software and more (contact suppliers listed to obtain materials). Materials are listed by topic in an index bar.
- Handouts on familydoctor.org An alphabetical list of brief handouts that health care providers can give patients. Some are also available in Spanish. The site is maintained by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
- Patient Education This site is part of the Open Directory Project, which is a web directory project. It includes links to other Internet sites with patient education information.
With magnet status such a desireable accreditation for a hospital to achieve, nurses who are able to do research and evalute evidence are valuable in today's job market. Databases that are particlarly strong in evidence-based content are CINAHL and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR).
|What role did nurses play during the Civil War? Who are some of the early nurse leaders in U.S. hospitals? What was an operation like for a patient one hundred years ago? Historical questions like these are examples of interdisciplinary topics. The nursing literature probably contains some answers to these questions, but to thoroughly research historical nursing and medical topics it is also necessary to consult history sources.|
Journal literature is another excellent source of historical research information. America: History and Life, which is the premier source for historical research literature, is an excellent resource in addition to CINAHL and Medline.
When looking for drug information, it is important to know the drug's generic name as well as it's brand name, the name it's being marketed under. For example, the cholesterol-lowering drug advertised as "Lipitor" also has the generic name "Atorvastatin." Medical literature may refer to drugs by one or both names, so it's useful to include both in a search.
Basic drug information is available in several online and print sources. Web sites like the Internet Rx List provide brand and generic names, drug uses, specifications, contraindications, and other information commonly found in inserts given to patients.
There are also several print sources of drug information:
- AHFS Drug Information (REF RS 125 .A57)
- Nurses Drug Guide (REF RM 125.N78)
- Nursing ... Drug Handbook (REF RM 147 .N8)
- PDR for Herbal Medicines (REF RM 666 .H33 P37 1998)
- Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) (REF RS 250 .P5)
- United States Pharmacopeia (REF RS 141.2 .P5)
Note that these call numbers refer to books in the Library's reference collection. You may also wish to check academic libraries in your area to see what sources are available.Clinical Trials
Clinical trial and drug research information are usually published in medical journal literature, which is best located with a database. Try Medline for research articles about drugs and medications. The Medline search form allows you to enter a drug name and it also includes a special limiter for specific publication types. Look for clinical trial. CINAHL may also index clinical trials and drug information.
Many universities require the preparation of a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation for completion of an advanced degree. Any theses and dissertations given to the library are cataloged in the library's online catalog. Note that not all programs require a formal thesis or dissertation and not all programs submit these documents to the library. You may need to contact your department to see if copies are available in their office instead. To learn how to search for such items, see our Webster/Eden Theses or Dissertations page.
If you find one in our catalog you'd like to see, St Louis area students may visit the library to look at a copy. Extended campus students may request a copy using the library's Document Delivery Service.
Dissertations & Theses @ Webster University contains Webster doctoral dissertations and masters level theses submitted summer, 2005 to the present. Webster faculty, staff, and students may view the full text for free (pdf files require the Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Dissertation Abstracts Online (a FirstSearch database) indexes dissertations and theses accepted at accredited U.S institutions since 1861. It selectively covers masters theses, Canadian dissertations, and British and other European dissertations. As the name implies, you can only find an abstract of the document on this database. Abstracts are often sufficient to explore what research is currently being done in your field. Usually only the library affiliated with the institution that granted the degree will hold a copy of the dissertation.
Note: Unless you are working on an extensive research project, it may not be necessary to consult theses or dissertations. It is recommended that you exhaust other options for research first (i.e. library catalogs, databases, research handbooks, etc.).