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Doing your own research for a personal health or medical concern can sometimes be a daunting task.  There are so many resources available itís often difficult to know where to begin.  Before you start your search, you should have a clear idea of what it is you want to know.  This is always helpful even when a professional librarian is assisting you with your search.

Try to think of a few sentences to describe what it is you want to know.

Some Helpful Examples Are:

I want to know what (name of disease or medical condition) is, how itís  treated, and what I can expect for the short and long term.

My doctor has prescribed (name of drug) to treat (name of disease or medical condition).  Are there any side effects to this drug?  Are there any studies about how effective it is?  Are there other drugs similar to this that work as well?

My doctor has recommended surgery for (name of disease or medical condition ).  If I have this surgery, how is it done?  Is there research on this surgeryís effectiveness? How long will it take me to recover? What other treatment options are available?  How effective are they?  Are there things I can do to help myself? General or unclear sentences about what it is you want to know can  take you in the wrong direction and you may end up wasting valuable time.

Unhelpful Sentences Are:

I want to know everything I can about (disease or medical condition).

What is (name of disease, medical condition, drug, medical test, etc.)?

Also, consider the type of information you want.  If you are just starting your search and know very little about the topic, you may want general information  so you can understand key concepts. Books are usually the best place to find general information.    For easy to understand background information on your topic look at some of the full-text consumer books listed on the Healthnet website in the "Internet Resources" section as well as MedlinePlus, a consumer health information database from the National Library of Medicine.  Before using MedlinePlus, take a quick tour.



Funded in part by the National Library of Medicine under contract NO1-LM-6-3528 with the University of Connecticut Health Center.


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