Answering health and medical reference questions

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 16 Feb 2016


See also Consumer health information | Finding health information for British Columbians Bc flag.png | Research Portal for Academic Librarians

"Answering health & medical reference questions" is a five (5) hour workshop rooted in the traditions of providing service for specialized clienteles, especially consumers and public library user groups. To achieve the goals of the workshop, the instructor will focus on examining information sources, strategies for answering reference questions and also interview techniques and etiquette. Tools such as the eCPS, Cochrane Library, OvidSP and Ebsco will be shown. Top consumer sites such as MedlinePlus will be shown as well as print and online dictionaries.

Workshop delivery methods

  • Lecture: to provide a general overview of health care in Canada and the importance of health information
  • Discussion: questions that can be expected in libraries; how to analyze questions; selecting information sources; share health-related questions you have dealt with at your own libraries
  • Demonstration: Show how to use PubMed and other information sources. Demonstrations of how to use online resources will probably take up the majority of the workshop.
  • Group activity: break into small groups with practice questions; come up with a search strategy and select information sources. Each group will demonstrate their search strategy to the rest of the class.


This 5-hour course focuses on using high-quality sources of health information to answer reference questions. Participants are introduced to key print and electronic sources in health and various techniques used to evaluate sources ‘on the fly’.

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The HLWIKI International Advisory makes consumer health information (CHI) available to all -- however, it is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a doctor. While we strive to keep all content current and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability or suitability of information, products, services, or related graphics contained here or on any of the websites listed. Only qualified health providers can provide health care e.g., they will take your health history, examine you, and bring their expertise and experience to bear on evaluating you. Put simply, advice regarding your care should always include your physician and other health providers. Please ask your local health librarian for further assistance.
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