Where to find what you need

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Sourcing - This section will help you to identify useful sources. For health and social care one of the key sources for research and evidence is The Knowledge Network and Social Services Knowledge Scotland (SSKS) Library Services. You may need to source knowledge from published sources like websites and journal articles, as well as from the experience of others.

Below are some tips on how best to begin doing this. Use these along with the sections for different types of sources to help you identify the best way to find the information you are looking for as quickly as possible.  For many questions you will use more than one type of source.

For a quick overview, see our interactive Search Tips guide, then use the sections below for more in-depth advice.

Getting started

To help you decide which source or sources to use it helps to consider the purpose and the type of question you are asking. Once you are happy with your question, consult the table on the left for some suggestions on the kinds of sources that might be most useful.

Type of Question Type of Source
Get an overview of a topic Know about - questions are generally background questions which give you information about a topic
Find a fact or specific piece of information or latest evidence Know what - specific and factual. High quality sources that help you to base your decisions on latest evidence. Find out more.
Find information to give to a patient or client / another person Know who to turn to - NHS, local authority and the government, plus many Scottish organizations and charities provide a range of quality information which you can share with others.
Conduct some research Research - systematic. Usually needs to be transparent and include a record of sources. Find out more.
Find people to learn from the experiences of others or experts Know who - experience. Talking to a person who knows about the area you're investigating like a colleague, community, etc.  Find out more.




For most questions, it is best to start with looking at published evidence.Look for resources in which others have reviewed original research and commented on the overall impact of the work, i.e. evidence summaries which have already been synthesised and peer reviewed. These are called secondary sources and appear at the top of the 'evidence pyramid', as seen to the left. You should start at the top of the pyramid and move down until you find the answer you need. This is an example of a triangle describing health literature but the same principle applies for other subjects.   You can download a more detailed version of the pyramid below.


Keeping up to date

It is important to stay abreast of the latest knowledge. The Keeping Up To Date page has a wealth of information and many useful links.