michigan informatics



All public health workers need, at some point, to find journal articles published in the professional or scholarly literature. You may need to find evidence to support implementing new programs, stay current with the latest research, or gather the latest health information. Whatever the reason, it is important to understand how bibliographic databases work, the basic search process, and how to retrieve the full text of the articles that you need. This tutorial provides an introduction to searching the public health literature, including numerous examples of freely available databases.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the basic search process for finding information
  • Choose effective search terms
  • Utilize search features appropriate to specific databases
  • Select and apply terms from controlled vocabularies
  • Become familiar with a selection of freely available databases
  • Retrieve copies of articles

Supported Competencies

Reference: Developed by The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice.

  • Analytic/Assessment Skills
    • Identifies relevant and appropriate data and information sources
    • Obtains and interprets information regarding risks and benefits to the community
  • Policy Development/Program Planning Skills
    • Collects, summarizes, and interprets information relevant to an issue
  • Basic Public Health Sciences Skills
    • Identifies and retrieves current relevant scientific evidence