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.Information Literacy in the Health Sciences

Orientation to health resources and search strategies.

Health Science Literature

Information Literacy in the Health Sciences

Why Health Literacy Matters

The recent pandemic reminded us that our society can be seriously impacted by people's ability to find, evaluate, and use information. Or the lack of ability. Everyone at  some point needs to care for their health or the health of a loved one. They need to get health information. They need to find healthcare providers. They need to learn of treatments and evaluate them to make choices. 

The understanding and management of health information starts with the people who choose work within the healthcare industry. They can become guides for their patients in navigating the confusing array of health information and can share their expertise to assist in its evaluation. Patients' well-being and lives can depend upon access to accurate health information. 

Therefore, it is important that healthcare professionals acquire some skill of their own in navigating health information resources. 

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) was developed from the concept of evidence-based medicine and has been extended and applied to many different disciplines, particularly in the health sciences.

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise we mean the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice. Increased expertise is reflected in many ways, but especially in more effective and efficient diagnosis and in the more thoughtful identification and compassionate use of individual patients' predicaments, rights, and preferences in making clinical decisions about their care. By best available external clinical evidence we mean clinically relevant research, often from the basic sciences of medicine, but especially from patient centered clinical research into the accuracy and precision of diagnostic tests (including the clinical examination), the power of prognostic markers, and the efficacy and safety of therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventive regimens."

Sackett, D., Rosenberg, W., Muir Gray, J., Haynes, R. Richardson, W.  (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't.  British Medical Journal, 312, 71-72.

To obtain evidence from systematic research, scholars must often use the library resources. Therefore, knowing where to look, how to search, how to evaluate, what to choose, how to store, and how to manage the information from the library or other information source is very important.

Library Services for Science Students

Library Services for Science Students


Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University offers one stop shopping for students.  Whether students need help with researching a topic, writing a paper, or finding a book, ISU Library is The Campus Living Room. Effective services to distance education students is a priority of the ISU Library.

The library promotes the educational and research missions of ISU by providing the collections, services, and environments that lead to intellectual discovery, creativity, and the exchange of ideas. The library collections include more than two million items. The library catalog facilitates access to over 3000 electronic books and over 10,000 electronic government documents. Preference is given to collecting journals and periodicals in an online format. The library provides access to over 230 databases that include journals, magazines, newspapers, electronic books, and other sources.

Science Literature

The literature and resources of the science disciplines are heavily structured around the scientific method. Because science knowledge is based on experimentation and observation, publications of original research are very important. The examination of existing theories and the evaluation of their supporting evidence is very important in the development of new questions to ask and new experiments to perform.

The publication of research helps distribute ideas and theories to other scientists. The distribution encourages discussion of the ideas therein. The discussion generates new ideas for further research or consideration. The entire process adds to our knowledge of the world.