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Barbara's Basics for Department of Health Sciences: Improve Your Library Research Skills

Basic, first-few-weeks-of school information and to-do's to get ready for using UNC University Libraries and a successful first year at Carolina.

Created by Health Science Librarians

Improve Your Library Research Skills

Librarians  Rock

Ask Us whenever you need help.

Find It

New to library research? Has it been awhile since you wrote a research paper?

Use this guide to help visualize and plan your search:

Use this guide to learn to ask good clinical questions and use the PICO format to search for the best evidence:

  • Forming Focused Questions with PICO
  • PICO (Patient or problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome)
    • Helps you form a focused question that will return relevant results
    • Helps you retrieve a manageable amount of results
    • Assists you in brainstorming keywords for your research
    • Saves time!

Use this log to keep your search organized and to document your search strategy for reporting:

Get It

Don't forget, we can get you any article you need.

  • Use the 'Find @ UNC' link in database search results to look for full text. See Full-Text Articles via Find@UNC for more information
  • When the article is not online, use the options a the bottom of the Find @ UNC page to search the catalog for print or to request the article via Interlibrary Loan.
  • Is the book you want in circulation or does the library not own it? Use Interlibrary Loan to place a hold or request a book from another library.
  • Learn more about Interlibrary Loan.

Read It

Learn about Scholarly Research Articles.

Learn about Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources. 

  • In this guide from the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Sciences Libraries, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources in the Health Sciences, learn whether sources are considered primary, secondary, or tertiary depending on the originality of the information presented and their proximity or how close they are to the source of information.

Judge It

Once you find it, how do you know it is any good?

  • Evaluating Information tutorial from Johns Hopkins University will help you learn how to choose quality research.
    • How to evaluate information, from social media and internet resources to scholarly articles.
  • Learn about Peer Review and how to know if an article has been peer reviewed.

Critical thinking is a key skill in information literacy, along with the related skill of media literacy.  Discussion of “fake news” has led to renewed focus on these skills and the importance of colleges and universities providing education in these areas. IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations has provided this infographic with eight simple steps (based on’s 2016 article How to Spot Fake News)  to discover the verifiability of a given news-piece in front of you.  

IFLA infographic based on’s 2016 article "How to Spot Fake News" in JPG format

By IFLA ( [CC BY 4.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

Save It

Don't forget, stay organized.: