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

Search Guidelines
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Here are some principles the author has used in his own work searching for health statistics. They are offered as guides rather than rules.
  • The successful searcher adopts an open approach that is sensitive to the information structures formed as the material was compiled and created.
  • The key rule is to craft each search for the specific circumstances—your needs, resources and the time available.

Identify data limits and heed them
  • Include material that provides meta data—information about the sources uses, their methods and limits
  • Weight reports results against the statistical characteristics they report
  • Assess not only the statistical precision and validity of a result—it’s “confidence interval” or sampling error—but also its applicability and meaningfulness in the context of health analyses.

Review of Searching Strategies
This course includes a section designed for those who are new to library searching or who feel they need a refresher in basic principles. If you want to consult this part of the course go here.

Otherwise, Continue to next page.
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