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Michigan State University

Pharmacology/Toxicology Library Guide: Finding Scientific Articles

Evaluating Online Information for Academic Papers/Products

Use websites from reliable sources to supplement information you get from books, electronic texts, and journal articles. 

When you use websites, you need to be careful about quality and source, something that isn't usually a problem when you are using respected medical textbooks or journal articles you find through PubMed.  Ask these questions to help you determine whether a website is worth using for your paper:

  1. Author:  Who is the author of the site?  This can be a person (credentials are needed) or an agency (such as the National Cancer Institute).  You'll want the information to be coming from a credible source . 
  2. Date:  When was the information you want to cite written or last updated?  You want this to be fairly recent. 
  3. References:  Does the site reference the scientific literature or other reliable sources?  Information presented without citation of the literature is not scholarly.  You want to cite as many scholarly sources as possible and minimize the information you get from non-scholarly sources.
  4. Audience:  Who is the audience of the site?  If the audience is a patient, layperson, or lower-level student, the information may be too simplistic.
  5. Funding:  What is the funding source of the site?  Advertising should be clearly distinguishable from content.  Look for evidence of bias. This is more of a problem for sites that present health information.  
  6. Your purpose: You may need to use different documents in different situations. Sometimes an inaccurate document is useful, if you want to illustrate a mistake or misconception.

Using Databases

To find scientific articles in biomedical, pharmacological, and clinical topics, use the following databases.

Pharm/Tox Librarian

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Chana Kraus-Friedberg
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
Subjects: Medicine, Public Health