Looking for health information

This resource will outline general tips on finding information and developing research in the discipline of health.

What kinds of health information might I need to find?

Health information covers everything from Medicine, Nursing, Food Science, Exercise/Physiology/ Anatomy/ Surgery and even Medicinal Chemistry and Biology. The resources you have access to are designed just to focus on Medicine and Health so you don't get overwhelmed with information you don't need.

You may need to search, track, and organise the information you find in different ways to other subjects. For example a literature review, which qualitatively summarises evidence on a topic, may only take a few weeks whereas a systematic review is a high-level overview of primary research on a focused question and can take months. The Library's health-specific resources don't just have books and journal articles to help you succeed with this type of work. They also have electronic libraries (databases) that have interactive quizzes, flashcards, games and patient information as well as resources that everyday professionals use. In other words, you will be using the same tools that doctors, health professionals and researchers use in hospitals, professional practice and universities all over the world.

Using the PICO framework

The PICO framework is one way to form a clinical question in Evidence Based Practice or medicine. For a more in-depth guide, see the PICO Search Standards resource.

PICO stands for:

  • Patient (or Problem)
  • Intervention
  • Comparison Intervention
  • Outcome

Use the Medicine & Health: Evidence Based Practice guide to discover more information.

Tools to use with the PICO framework

The MEDLINE and Cinahl databases are both excellent sources of health information that you can use in PICO and other health research


MEDLINE is one of the most used databases for medicine and is the major component of PubMed Central. To learn about PICO searching on Medline, have a go at the tutorial in the above video.

The tutorial covers:

  • Advanced searching in Medline
  • Understanding Focus and Explode
  • Conduct a search strategy using the PICO framework
  • Searching using Medical Subject Headings


CINAHL Plus with Full Text is a top research tool for nursing and allied health professionals, providing fast and easy full-text access to top journals, evidence-based care sheets, quick lessons and more. Broad content coverage including 50 nursing specialties, speech and language pathology, nutrition, general health and medicine.

Try this CINAHL tutorial to learn how to access and search CINAHL to find journal articles.

Keeping track of your research

Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) or Evidence Based Practice (EBP) often requires a Systematic Literature Review (SLR). Systematic literature reviews are central to health research, and are especially useful in completing PICO searches. The Library's Medicine and Health guide provides detailed information about engaging in this kind of evidence based research.

Use this Systematic Literature Review Search Tracker to plan, organise and retrieve your searches across numerous discipline specific databases. Follow the instructions on each tab to help you get the best results.

Further resources