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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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The course aims to help you find and use health statistics. Printed reports, articles and books provide the most authoritative account of results because they are reviewed and reflect careful vetting. Agencies and authors follow carefully specified standards to assure that material reported includes information about uncertainties [so-called statistical errors] and the procedures used to compile and analyze results.

Limits of Published Sources
However, relevant material is sometimes difficult to find in books, articles and printed government reports because these works are static and do not allow users to interact with the material.
  • Searching depends on using an index, table of contents or list of tables and charts.
  • Effective searching within material often depends on knowing in advance where material is likely to be located.
  • Finding items or facts within tables requires labor-intensive examination of the material or long-term use.
  • Locating the right document or table within a Library collection depends on using an online catalog which may not have detailed information about the contents or a resource that indexes tables and material across resources
    [such as the American Statistics Index]. Even there, the printed versions of these resources are limited and often require extensive work.
  • Lexis-Nexis the organization that created the American Statistics Index has created an online system with the same information and many of the original documents and tables. However Lexis-Nexis Statistical is only available in subscribing organization and libraries and on a fee basis for individuals.
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