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School of Medicine Students: Information Finding for MS1-MS4

Liaison guide for the students in the UAB School of Medicine

Types of Information

Where you look for information is determined by what kind of question you are asking.  One way of classifying your question is to ask whether you are seeking background information or foreground information.

Background information is sought when you have general clinical questions regarding a topic such as what is the disorder; what causes it; how does it present; what are some treatment options.  These questions can be answered by using "background" resources such as textbooks (both in print and electronic) and narrative reviews in journals which give a general overview of the topic.

Foreground information answers specific questions regarding a specific patient.  Foreground resources can be divided into primary sources such as original research articles published in journals; and secondary sources such as  systematic reviews of the topic, and synopses and reviews of individual studies.

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