Skip to Main Content

HLTH 470 - Program Planning - Janelle Jacobson - 2020 Spring: Home



Melissa Netzband


Research Process


Let's discuss the assignment... (discussion digression one)

research process

So what does that mean in the context of this class?

You really have THREE topics:

  • The Health Problem
  • The Population/Community
  • The Intervention

Intervention Ven Diagram


Discussion digression two: contemplating vocabulary

Each of the three topic areas requires separate research as well as research for where they overlap.  But no need to reinvent the wheel, there are standard resources to help with some of the basics:

The Health Problem:

ENCYCLOPEDIAS - yes, really.  If you need to know the basics of a health problem, try the Gale Virtual Reference Library, or a respected online source such as the Center for Disease Control.  (But not, under any circumstances, Wikipedia.  Use it for the links at the bottom of the articles but not for the article content). You want to start with a broad overview, not the latest treatments.

Your Population:

Statistics and information on your population and how they intersect with the problem:

  • Just Goggle your problem and the word statistics.  If you are geographically focused, Google your problem and your geographical area (e.g. Diabetes and West Virginia). 
  • Go for the government sites, not the organizational sites.  By and large, the organizations are using the government data and are a beat behind, so go to the CDC, or the The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Department of Health for your state... 
  • If there are relevant aspects of your population that are independent of your problem, find an encyclopedia entry to back it up (e.g. adolescents are risk-takers, older folks are set in their ways, veterans may have many intersecting challenges...).

Looking for interventions/Programs:

You need to find lots of examples (like 5-10) of interventions that have been used to address your health problem within your population both to get ideas for your own proposed solution and to bolster your argument that your program will work. 

1) The Community Toolbox Databases of Best Practices is an amazing resource.  Use it!  Explore it! Follow the trails! 

2) You also need to look for scholarly articles that discuss interventions: 

  • Try the QuickSearch box on the library homepage. 
  • Try MedLine or PubMed from our database list on the library homepage. 
  • Use keywords from your own topic but add words like review, meta-analysis, or study.

Discussion digression three: The four main search tips:

  1. AND – connects different ideas
  2. (  OR  )  - for lists of synonymous or related terms
  3. Stem* - finds all word endings of a given stem (stem need not be a complete word
  4. “    “  - keeps phrases of multiple words together

Understand that while you want the interventions you find to match your interest as closely as possible, you might have to choose some that are not exactly a match.  Maybe it's a good intervention and it really matches your problem, but it is urban rather than rural.  Or the age group is slightly different but the intervention is still applicable to your age group. Or it's an intervention that matches a close problem, but not yours exactly (e.g. stress vs. anxiety), but would work for your problem and population.


Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

Text Us!: 315-277-3730

Social Media

College Libraries


SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13676