PHA 371 Practice of Pharmacy

last modified 2018-05-08T11:09:21-04:00
Types of Sources


Sources are considered primary, secondary, or tertiary depending on the originality of the information presented and their proximity or how close they are to the source of information

Primary Sources

Original research published in a peer-reviewed journals.  Types of original research includes case studies, cohort studies, randomized controlled trials.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources interpret or critique primary sources. They often include an analysis of the event that was discussed or featured in the primary source.

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources generally provide an overview or summary of a topic, and may contain both primary and secondary sources.

Tips for Types of Sources

Know the type(s) of source you need before you begin your research.  

Ask your professor what type of sources are required if not clearly stated.

The type of sources needed will inform the type of database you search.

Some databases will allow you to search a specific type of source.

Types of Databases


The key to finding the right database is knowing what's in it:
Does it cover the desired content or subject area?
What is the time span for coverage?
What types of publications does it cover? 
How often is it updated?

Drug Monographs

Contains written documents or standards, that give detailed information on a drug.

Examples Below:

Other Databases

Any collection of  textbooks and other e-books collection or point-of-care clinical tools.

Examples Below:

  • Access Medicine
    Textbooks in clinical and educational medicine. Drug information, practice guidelines, quick access to diagnosis and treatment.
  • DynaMed
    Medical information database for Point-of-Care reference.
Types of Medical Questions


Clinical questions may be categorized as either background or foreground. Determining the type of question will help you to select the best resource for your answer.

Background Questions

Background questions asks for general knowledge about a disease or disease process

Have two essential components:

A question root (who, what, when, etc.) with a verb

A disorder, test, treatment, or other aspect of healthcare

Foreground Questions

Foreground questions ask for specific knowledge to inform clinical decisions or actions. 

Ask for specific knowledge about managing patients with a disease

Suitable for the PICO model.  PICO helps you define the elements of the clinical question:

Patient, Intervention (or cause, prognosis), Comparison (optional), Outcome

Using P.I.C.O Model to Frame Your Question

The PICO model helps you organize and focus your foreground question into a searchable query.

A well-built clinical foreground question should have 4 components:

P = Patient, Problem, Population

 (How would you describe a group of patients similar to you? What are the most important characteristics of the patient?)

I = Intervention, Prognostic Factor, Exposure 

(What main intervention are you considering? What do you want to do with this patient? What is the main alternative being considered?)

C = Comparison (Can be None or placebo.) 

(What is the main alternative to compare with the intervention? Are you trying to decide between two drugs, a drug and no medication or placebo, or two diagnostic tests?)

O= Outcome 

(What are you trying to accomplish, measure, improve or affect? Outcomes may be disease-oriented or patient-oriented.)

Finding Resources

Locating Books

To locate books, print journals and other documents, use the library catalog

You can limit your search by location, type of material, language, and  publication date.

Practice searching on the title Pharmacometrics by Ene Ette. Notice the location, the call number and status of the item.

Learn more about reading call numbers here.

Locating Print Journals

Look up print journals the same way you would look up a book -- in the library catalog. You can limit your search to just journals by clicking on the Journals tab. You can limit your search by location.

Practice by look up the print journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Notice that the journal has more than one format and more than one location. Print journals may be bound volumes that are found on the lowel level or individual issues in current periodicals on the upper level. 

Soome journals may also be microform --microfilm (reels) or microfiche (cards) also on the upper level.

Locating Electronic Journals

Look up electronic journals using the e-Journals on the library's web page, or any link that says Journals A to Z. Electronic journals may be available in different date ranged from different vendors, so be aware of the date you are looking for and the dates that are available.

Look up the journal Drugs and Aging. Notice that it is available from several different sources.

Locating Databases

Swilley Library provides access to more than 100 different databases.  More than 20 of these are health-science related.  If you are off-campus, log in to the Swilley Library websiteite before you begin a search and then click on the Databases tab. Pharmacy-related databases are also linked on the Pharmacy Research Guide organized by type of information.

Find the database ACCESS PHARMACY.

Interlibrary Loan

If the resource you are looking for is not available through the library catalog or e-journals. You may place a request for the item through interlibrary loan (ILL). This means that Swilley Library will borrow the item from another library. If it is a book, the library will loan the book to Swilley Library and then it will be checked out to you. If it is an article, it is usually scanned and emailed to you. Be sure to fill out ILL forms as thoroughly as possible and be sure that your citation information is correct.