Searching the Internet

In order to locate information on the Internet you will need to use a search engine, a directory or possibly a gateway. Each searches and collates information in different ways:

Search engines search the whole of the web and rank the retrieved results, according to their own system of ranking. There is no guarantee that the best quality websites will appear at the top of the search results.  A good search engine to start with is Google.

Gateways provide links to websites which have been evaluated and found to meet the gateways own criteria for inclusion. NICE Evidence is an NICE gateway to many health resources such as guidelines, patient information and material to support evidence based practice.

Search tips

  • Break your query down into a number of keywords and enter only these into the search box (DO NOT type in sentences or full questions).
  • Use the correct medical terms rather than colloquial alternatives.
  • Always check spelling and be aware of alternative spellings for American terms.

Evaluating the resources

Anybody can publish information on the Internet. Therefore it is important to remember the following facts:

  • Sites may not have been through quality 'filters' such as publishers, editors or peer-reviewers.
  • There is no guarantee of honesty or accuracy on the Internet and for some sites there may be inherent bias.
  • Some sites are not regularly updated.

Therefore it is vital that YOU assess the quality of the information source yourself. The interactive tutorials on the right of this page will help you gain the skills and the confidence to assess web sites effectively.