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Health Information Administration Research Guide

This guide is intended to help students complete research assignments in health information management.

Introduction to Research in HIM

Before searching for information, review these basic research concepts.


Evaluating and selecting credible information sources is critical!

 question-markCONSIDER THIS:

1.    Who might be providing health information for free on the web? And why?

2.    What’s the difference between (a) searching the National Institutes of Health web site and (b) doing a Google search of the Web?

3.    Compare Medline/Pubmed to Medlineplus. What's the main difference between them?


Where and how you search for information depends on the nature of the question you’re trying to answer/research.

What sources will answer your questions? and What research tools will get you to credible answers most efficiently and effectively?

1.  If you need a fact or statistic, you’ll need sources that collect & provide facts/statistics.
2.  If you are researching a topic, a common strategy is:

a.    Start with edited and peer-reviewed books and articles (in magazines and journals)
b.    If needed, find reliable facts and statistics (directories, statistical compilations)
c.    If needed, move on to reliable health websites (recommended sites)


Following a process will improve your chances of success. When you have a gap in knowledge, follow these steps (and repeat as necessary to complete your research):

1.    Define problem  -- What questions are you trying to answer?

2.    Develop a strategy -- What credible sources are likely to supply evidence/answers? 

The Health Information Administration Research Guide will help you identify sources. You can always find the guide in the future by going to the Research QuickLinks area of the Library's home page and clicking on “Research Guides: Courses, Majors, and Subjects.”

3.    Locate the information -- Use tools that lead to credible sources for professionals in health information management such as article databases and reliable web sites aimed at professionals.

4.    Read the information you selected and extract the information needed

5.    Synthesize information -- Integrate information drawn from various sources; interpret what you’ve learned & draw conclusions; cite sources used  in your paper or presentation.