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Health Literacy: Popular vs. Academic Sources

This health literacy guide is designed to help students find and assess sources of quality health information

What is Peer Review & Why is It So Important?

This video, created by the North Carolina State University Libraries and under a Creative Commons license, presents a good overview of the research and peer-review processes.

Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles & Systematic Reviews

Medical/health literature databases are good sources for identifying articles on your specific topic.

Publicly accessible databases include

  • PubMed - searchable index of articles from thousands of biomedical research journals
  • PubMed Central - full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine

Current UNH students, faculty and staff as well as visitors to the UNH Library can use

  • Medline - similar to PubMed but with links to UNH holdings
  • CINAHL Complete - covering nursing and allied health literature

Systematic reviews can be identified through the following databases that UNH subscribes to

The Problem With Popular Sources

“Popular” information sources (TV, newspapers, radio, popular magazines) are rarely the best sources of health information as they

  • are short,
  • do NOT provide a lot of detail
  • are generally written by people who aren't experts

These can be good for alerting you to new developments that you can investigate further in more reputable, authoritative sources described in this guide.

Peer-reviewed articles are a key source but there are other quality places to check.

Different Types of Periodicals

What type of periodical you are dealing with?

This one-page chart describing the characteristics of

  • popular magazines & newspapers
  • professional, trade, and special interest periodicals
  • scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed or refereed journals

will help you.

Peer Review (Scholarly) Journals vs. Popular Magazines

An informative 3-minute video created by Peabody Library, Vanderbilt University.