Internet research requires skills in strategic searching as well as evaluating results for quality, accuracy and purpose. Use the suggested web search and evaluation tips below and keep good notes on what strategies work best for you.
Recommended Health Care Websites
The Consumer and Patient Health Information Services Caucus (CAPHIS) of the Medical Library Association evaluates websites based on the following criteria: credibility, sponsorship/authorship, content, audience, currency (timeliness), disclosure, purpose, links, design, interactivity, and disclaimers. Websites included have been deemed particularly useful (in each area, sites are listed in alphabetical order, NOT ranked).
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. Founded in 1896, and with members in all 50 states and U.S. territories, ANA is the strongest voice for the profession.
NSNA’s mission is to mentor students preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses, and to convey the standards, ethics, and skills that students will need as responsible and accountable leaders and members of the profession.
The Rhode Island State Nurses Association (RISNA), a constituent member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), is the authority on matters concerning the profession of nursing and nursing practice in the state of Rhode Island. RISNA is dedicated to the promotion, advancement, and protection of nursing thereby improving the quality of and access to health care in Rhode Island.
Sigma is an international community of nurses, dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, teaching, learning, and service through the cultivation of communities of practice, education, and research.
Web Search Engines (Google) vs. Research Databases
Search Engines (i.e. Google)
Anyone can put up a webpage – no quality control
Hard to limit your search to just what you want
Wading through too many results wastes your time
Many journals are not free online through Google; you have to pay
Articles are more likely to be fact-checked, reviewed by editors, or peer-reviewed for accuracy
Databases allow you to limit your search to what you need via helpful filters such as publication date, peer-review, article type
The library pays for access to full-text journals in databases so you don’t have to
Evaluating Web Sources
Google Scholar as a Tool for Journal Articles
Google Scholar crawls academic journal websites and provides an index of selected scholarly articles.
Tip: Be sure to set up your "Library Links" to Salve Regina so that if you locate a citation and the full-text is available from one of the library's subscription databases, you can link directly from the Google Scholar search page.
Tip: If it's not available full-text, you'll be directed to request the article through Salve's interlibrary loan service.
Tip: Much of your research in Nursing will call for the use of recently published articles. At times, you'll find a useful source but it is older than what you are typically able to cite in your research. Look at the citation in Google Scholar and click on “Cited by.” This tool allows you to move forward in time from the older source to see who has cited it in more recent publications. Of course, you will also need to evaluate those newer studies for relevance and quality!
Off the Charts: Award-winning Blog of the American Journal of Nursing
Off the Charts publishes timely, engaging posts by working nurses on quality improvement projects, patient care experiences, nursing education, career and wellness issues, and health care technology and policy.