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

Search Guidelines
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.