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Health Information: Research

Resources for understanding health conditions and accessing health care

Finding Research Articles

To find information on the latest health studies, research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are excellent resources. They've created databases (listed below) to help connect you to original research studies, reviews and reports. Additionally, the Boston Public Library subscribes to several databases that link to professionally published articles on health research.  

If you have questions about searching these databases or obtaining the full text of any articles cited, please ask a librarian for assistance or take a look at our database "how-to" section below.  For articles that cannot be accessed full text from a database and are not available in print at the library, we may be able to order a copy through Interlibrary Loan

Understanding Health Research

Health research is frequently reported in the news, but these reports often summarize studies and may leave out important information. Understanding how researchers design studies can help you determine whether the study results you're reading can be generalized to the broader public. Here are a few questions the National Institutes of Health recommends asking when reading about health research in the news:

  • Was the study in animals or people?
  • Does the study include people like you?
  • How big was the study?
  • Was it a randomized controlled clinical trial?
  • Where was the research done?
  • If a new treatment was being tested, were there side effects?
  • Who paid for the research?
  • Who is reporting the results?

Database How-To Tutorials

Online Health Resources

Health Databases at the Boston Public Library

Most of our online resources are available through our website from wherever you’re connecting. All you need is a library card number or you can get an eCard online.