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Research Your Own Health Facts in Six Easy Steps

Posted: Babies & Toddlers » Health & Wellness » Vaccinations » Health | August 29th, 2005



By Christine Climer

How many times have you read a health-related article and asked yourself, “I wonder if that’s really true?” I know I do all the time! There is just so much unreliable information floating around out there on the internet, on television and within the pages of books and magazines that it’s best to thoroughly evaluate everything you read and hear.

Many people are quite intimidated by technical medical terms and “sciencey” publications. But the truth is, you don’t have to be a doctor or scientist to research and understand health information. With these simple tools, you can confidently assess the facts and come to your own conclusions.

Evaluate the source

Consider Professor D. Scott Brandt’s tips for evaluating reliability and credibility of information sources.

Learn the language

The meanings of commonly used prefixes, suffixes and root words are listed in this handy chart.

For more complicated terminology, search the MedlinePlus Medical Dictionary or buy your own copy of Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary [ISBN 0803612079].

Buy books or products relating to this article on Powells or Amazon.

See how your body works

Look up anything about your body in either the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy or the Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition.

You may even want to purchase your own copy of either the Merck Manual (on Amazon.com or on Powells.com) or the Home Edition (on Amazon.com or on Powells.com).

Locate published research

The quickest way to find research is by searching PubMed. If you’ve never used PubMed before, you may wish to take the tutorial at their site, and you may find the tips published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) helpful.

Read and evaluate research

Once you’ve found published research papers, follow the BMJ’s guides for reading and understanding the contents.

Get to know your local librarian

Librarians are a fabulous resource. Your local library may have additional research tools available that your librarian can teach you to use. Librarians can also share valuable tips about evaluating information sources. Any time you’re feeling lost, confused or overwhelmed, ask your librarian for help.

© Christine Climer

Christine Climer is a registered nurse with experience in pulmonary disease, pediatrics, home health and hospice services. Also trained in early childhood education, she specializes in the promotion of early childhood health. She lives with her husband and three children (including a set of twins) in Texas and enjoys researching health issues and gardening.

One Response to “Research Your Own Health Facts in Six Easy Steps”

1 Lisa Poisso says:

If you have ever been caught wondering whether or not to believe something you read on the internet, this article shows you how to check it out! A FABULOUS resource that parents should bookmark.

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