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Nursing Research: Home

Learn about nursing resources and how to cite them.

Effective Searching Outline

Steps for effective research:

Determine the broad topic.

  • Write down the words you associate with that topic.  These will be Keywords.
  • You may discover that there are search terms (keywords or key phrases) that work better than this term in finding information
  • You have to do preliminary research to do effective research

Identify related topics associated with the topic by browsing a variety of sources (related topics will help to generate more keywords to use to narrow the search, that is, to make the search results more specific):

  • Internet.
  • Books
  • Electronic books
  • Library reference databases

Turn your topics into effective search terms.

  • Decide if your search term is a commonly used phrase, e.g., “global warming,” or two separate ideas, e.g., “internet” and “history.” 
  • Combine terms.  Why combine terms?
  • Combining terms is a step in Boolean algebra.  See the Boolean Machine for visual examples of Boolean searches.

Some databases supply the AND for you.  Read search suggestions or HELP before searching a database.
Or combine phrases,using the command AND, e.g., “global warming” AND “fossil fuels.”

  • Combine terms to reduce the number of retrieved items.
  • Combine terms to make the search more relevant.

Identify credible sources, that is, reliable sources. 

  • Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate information and data you find, especially that from the Internet

Browse results of your search at each stage to determine if you have found relevant sources.  Retrieved items do not have to be perfect!  You can use relevant portions.
Be sure to write down which documents you have used, if you have not made a print out or obtained a copy.
If necessary, modify your search term(s) and try again.
Ask the librarian for help.

Specialized Nursing Databases in the Library

The library subscribes to several specialized databases with nursing content. More detail can be found on the Journal Articles page of this Guide. Below are a few examples:

  • CINAHL Plus® - provides full text for more than 770 journals indexed in CINAHL®.
  • HealthSource Nursing - provides nearly 550 scholarly full text journal with coverage of many allied health topics.
  • PubMed - Indexes thousands of medical and dental journals, with full-text for many. No password required.

Library Contact Information

For help in research nursing and medical topics, please contact the library reference staff at 775-674-7602, or contact the reference librarians directly: