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PBH 360: Research Methods

This guide is intended to support students in PBH360.

Annotated Bibliography Tutorial

Additional Materials to Support Writing an Annotated Bibliography

PBH360 Research Methods for Public Health

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to set-up searches on tricky research topics?

One of the best ways to set-up a tricky search is to think about your topic in terms of concepts. Write out your topic and select the key concepts. For example, What is the effect of peer to peer learning on encouraging HIV testing with young adults between the ages of 19 and 29?  The key concepts in this question are: 1)peer to peer learning, 2)HIV testing, and 3)young adults ages 19-29. Take these concepts and enter them as keywords into a database or Google Scholar to find articles. If you still need help, schedule an appointment with your librarian! 

See Off-Campus Access to Library Materials for more details.


How can I get access to things the UNLV libraries don't own or subscribe to?

Use, InterLibrary Loan (ILLiad). ILLiad requests can send pdfs of articles to your email account, and have books sent to one of the University Libraries for you to pick up and borrow.


How can I find resources that are not found online?

If you are looking for DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, or print journals, try UNLV Quick Search to locate items not available online. Items not found online may be found in the library or can be borrowed from other libraries using ILLiad.


Why are these search engines the best to use? (Google Scholar or University Libraries sources)

Search engines like Google or Google Scholar or institution based tools like UNLV Quick Search might be useful for your research. The UNLV University Libraries purchases research databases that contain peer reviewed articles. Many of our purchased library resources are representative of current research that has been reviewed by scientific peers for inclusion in journals. Using a variety of search engines and search strategies is the best way to pursue finding the best and relevant information for your topic area. Keep in mind that it is always important to critically analyze and evaluate every resource used in your research. Although research may be peer-reviewed it is still open to critical analysis and evaluation.


Are news sites (like reliable sources?

It depends upon your research question! If you are making an evidence-based scientific argument, then often you will be better off directly examining the sources (polling data, original research, agency data) that the news media is discussing or reporting about. However, sometimes the news media are the original eyewitnesses of current events, and their news report might be a valuable source of information. Be cautious however, because the news often is presented as "info-tainment" and is more about entertaining the audience than providing objective, reliable facts, and data.


How can I get access to these databases and materials when I'm not affiliated with UNLV?

There are a number of free search tools (Google Scholar, etc.) that are listed on the subject guides that are available to anyone. Also, the State of NV subscribes to several general search tools on behalf of NV Residents other states may do the same. Check with your local public library to see what other search tools you may have access to. Public libraries also participate in interlibrary loan, so check with them to see what their policies are about the number of items you can request. 


Why does anyone have to pay for information, shouldn't it be free?

This is an ongoing debate within many of the scholarly disciplines, and the discussion includes not only articles and books but also data sets and software programs. Check out this subject guide to scholarly communication by Andrea Wirth for more information.

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