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Health Information Sources & Searching

A guide to finding, identifying, and critically appraising health information.

Exploring Information Sources

There are many sources of health information and ways to access that information. Two common ways are though a search engine like Google or a database like PubMed. 

Here are some key differences between websites and databases:

  Websites Databases
Cost Usually free Usually purchased
Organization Less organized Organized
Reliability Unstable and unmonitored Stable and monitored
Information "Kitchen sink"  Selected

You will also find a range of the following information types:

  • Primary information: data created at the time of the event or study and provides direct/firsthand evidence. This includes original research data, experimental results, and statistical data.
  • Secondary information: interpretations and evaluations that come from or refer to primary information. This includes editorials, review articles, textbooks, and encyclopedias.
  • Tertiary information: primary and secondary information which has been collected and analyzed. This includes encyclopedias, guidelines, guidebooks, and fact books.

The following lists of resources are not exhaustive and will be updated regularly.

Databases and Websites (Open Access)

See more databases on the Open Access Health Resources GalterGuide.


Government Sources

Grey Literature Resources

Grey literature is research that is produced and/or shared outside of traditional publication pipelines. Grey literature includes conference abstracts, clinical trial protocols, government reports, theses and dissertations, and presentations.