Finding information

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Finding quality information is a challenge. These pages help you to: 

  • Ask the right questions
  • Think about places to search to find the information to answer your question
  • Check the information you find is accurate, up to date and not someone‚Äôs opinion

We need your feedback to improve this resource - send questions/suggestions to our Knowledge Services Help Desk.

Searching the internet

Apart from Google, there are many other internet search engines available, such as, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia and Yahoo!, amongst others. However, Google continues to be very popular and offers several tools that can be very useful when searching for information.

The Knowledge Network offers free access to subscription resources such as e-books, e-journals, research articles, specialist databases, clinical decision-making tools/evidence summaries (BMJ Best Practice, DynaMed)

To access these resources NHSScotland staff can use their NHSScotland work email address and password to sign-in to OpenAthens. All other eligible users can register for an NHSScotland OpenAthens username.

Visit our Training page. for help, one-to-one online training sessions and video tutorials

Evaluating information

Before using any information that we find, it is essential that we critically evaluate it.

When you have found information of interest, it can help to ask yourself the following:

  • Who is the author? Is the person or organisation reliable or a subject expert?
  • Is the information relevant to your needs?
  • Is the information accurate and up-to-date, or has it been superseded?
  • Is the information objective or is it biased in any way? e.g. Are there any conflicts of interest?

More detailed guidance on assessing the quality of information sources can be found at Quality Assure pages

The NHSScotland Library Services are run by librarians with expertise in healthcare information. They can assist you in your search for health and social care information, be it specialist or general, online or in print.

The libraries offer services and resources such as: 

  • print books and journals
  • study space/computer terminals
  • ordering articles
  • literature searching services
  • current awareness bulletins
  • training to improve your searching & research skills

Internet safety

So much of our work is now conducted online that it is important to be conscious of internet safety, as well as proper process for handling information in a safe manner. In the Be safe and legal online section you will find guidance related to online safety, information security and keeping sensitive information safe.

What, Where and Quality Assure



  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Planning your search
  • Tips for searching (Knowledge Network, databases, the internet)



  • Selecting your source (evidence, research, people)
  • Keeping up to date
  • Using Google


Quality assure

  • Quick checks (who, what, when)
  • Appraising quality websites
  • Critical appraisal
Knowledge into Action cycle
K2A cycle