Health Research for Non-Science Majors

This guide is intended for people interested in research on health topics from a social sciences or humanities perspective. Sargent College students as well as those interested in clinical health and medical research should use the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences guide.

Books about health topics and some journal articles can be found through the BU Libraries search bar on the library homepage.

Databases (Starting Points)

Note: A good source of full text articles on a broad range of science topics.

Note: Another database with a broad range of science research.

Note: Good for historical research. Generally known for its humanities and social sciences content, but also includes content from 519 health and medicine titles.

Project Muse (1995]-)
Note: Similar to JSTOR in terms of subject content, but focuses on newer research from the past 5 years.

Note: A useful database that allows you to see how many times an article has been cited.

PsycINFO (199?)
Note: Psychology and related disciplines.

Note: A good starting point for interdisciplinary health research that doesn’t fall neatly under one subject category.

Specialized Databases

These databases contain literature meant for researchers in the health and medical professions, but may be a good choice if you fail to find what you’re looking for in the databases above.

PubMed (1996]-)
Note: The premier source for medical research.

Note: Nursing and allied health profession research. Contains some interdisciplinary research and contains less “hard science” research than PubMed.

Note: Systematic reviews are a type of research that involve looking at many research articles on a topic and trying to draw conclusions based on them. They try to determine whether a particular intervention or treatment is effective based on research evidence.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A slew of information on communicable diseases, selected chronic diseases, injuries/violence, environmental health, workplace safety.

MedlinePlus (US National Library of Medicine/NIH)

Health information for the public. Good for overviews of health conditions & basic drug & supplement information.

National Center for Health Statistics

Best source for US health statistics.

World Health Organization

Check the data & statistics section for health statistics by country and the publications section for many free reports on global health issues.

For health statistics on the local and state level, please see the Community Health Assessment guide.

Polls & Public Opinion

Pew Research Center

Browse by topic to find public opinion on health, health care, abortion, bioethics, drugs, birth rate/fertility, right to die, violence/safety, and more.

Harris Vault

Select “health” as a topic.

GALLUP Wellbeing

Reports on public opinion. Includes the Gallup “Well-Being Index” that shows the results of daily surveys of the well being of U.S. residents. Compare numbers over time or by state.

The Roper Center Public Opinion Archive

Click “topics at a glance” under the “data access” menu to find reports on public opinion on health care, medical research, and smoking.


Find current and historical newspaper articles with the BU Libraries’ Newspapers and News Media guide

More Health Topics

If you do not find what you need above, BU Libraries has additional guides on finding specific types of health information.

All Charles River Campus Health Guides

Health Sector Management (BU Pardee Management Library)

Health Care Law (BU Law Library)

BU Alumni Medical Library Research Guides


If you require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a librarian through our Ask a Librarian service. If you require in depth assistance with a health research topic, e-mail Kate Silfen, the health sciences librarian, at