Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Health Science Resources Overview Guide

General purpose subject guide with resources pertaining to health sciences.

What is a Scholarly Article?

When doing research for school or work, you will be seeking out a scholarly (rather than a popular or non-scholarly) source.

Use this grid can help you decide whether or not your source is scholarly.





Detailed report of original research or experiment, lengthy report of an original application of an arts or humanities concept Secondary report or discussion may include personal narrative, opinion, anecdotes.


Author's credentials are given, usually a scholar with subject expertise. Author may or may not be named; often a professional writer; may or may not have subject expertise.


Scholars, researchers, students. General public; the interested non-specialist.


Specialized terminology or jargon of the field; requires prior knowledge. Vocabulary in general usage; understandable to most readers.



Required. All quotes and facts can be verified. Rare. Scanty, if any, information about sources.


Research study, lengthy academic discussion of an arts or humanities concept, research review article Editorial, news, book/film review, letters, highlights

Content adapted from a research guide from the University of Michigan. CC-BY.  

What's a Database?

What's a database?

A database is a searchable collection of online resources.

Database provide newspapers, magazines, trade journals, scholarly journals, and books, organized to support research. These resources are published by professionals and experts in a particular field, and are generally far more credible than free web sources.

How do I access them?database login screen

Databases are paid for by your library, and access is provided to staff and students for free. Students access the college databases with their student ID and password. Just click the name of a database below (and log in if prompted) to get started!

Why are there so many?

Different databases have different types of sources and they can cover different subject areas. Some cover multiple subjects while others are specialized.

The list of databases below are specific to the health sciences and are our "best bets" for research in that area, but they do contain different things. You or your instructor may have a favorite, or feel free to contact a librarian if you need a more personalized recommendation. 

What do I search for?

Whatever you want! You can search library databases using keywords, titles, authors, magazine or newspaper names. You can also limit your searches using filters for publication date, subject, or other criteria.

For more information on constructing searches, we recommend taking a look at our guide on the research process

Best Bet Databases for Health Sciences

Other Databases to Know

Search Tips and Tools

The advanced search option provides multiple search boxes, as shown here by the three search boxes EBSCO's Health Source advanced search.Searching:

  • Break down your topic into search terms (for best results, use nouns).

  • The Advanced Search gives you multiple search boxes. This can help you narrow your results and also break down your topic into searchable components.

    • Within the advanced search, the Document Type or Publication Type category is a good place to specify what you are looking for.

    • Select the Full Text checkbox to be sure you get whole articles, not just short summaries and citations.

  • The Publication search can help you target a few specific laboratory medicine journals to search within. Search for "laboratory" or "clinical lab" in the description/summary box to find relevant journals.

  • Pay attention to the Subject terms you find. Jot down terms relevant to your research, they may lead to better articles.

  • If you're not sure about your search terms, use the Thesaurus to search for subject terms, browse for terms, or add terms to your search. Remember to jot them down, you may need them!

Navigating Results:

  • The Abstract is a concise summary of the article and can give you a sense of whether or not the article will be helpful. 

  • Struggling to identify a primary article (AKA original research)? Look for specific sections such methodologydata setresults, and analysis.

  • The Cite / Citation tool is very handy for help with citing your sources. Be sure to document your citations and save your articles as you research so you don't have to retrace your steps later.

  • Did you find a citation that looks helpful but can't find a full text version of the article? Ask a librarian and we'll see what we can to do to help you track it down.  

Just getting started with searching?

General introductions to research with library databases

Tutorials and tip sheets on using specific library databases

Contact a librarian for individualized assistance.

If you'd like additional help or more specific assistance, reach out to a Student Learning Librarian. Your Student Learning Librarians (Ellen and Linda) are happy to help with all kinds of research. We can help with:

  • ​Choosing search terms
  • Suggesting useful tools for your research
  • Filling "gaps" in your research
  • Tracking down full text articles or citations
  • Requesting materials from other libraries
  • and more!

Reach out to us in any of the following ways:

Email us at

Fill out the Ask a Librarian form on our website.

Western Technical College
Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2020, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email or call 608-785-9524.