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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 topic.

  • Write down the words you think best describes that topic (such as heart, nursing).  These will be Keywords.
  • Underneath these keywords write any synonyms or related terms that may be used in place of the keywords (cardiac cardio-, nurses, nurse, etc.).  Changes in spelling will change your results.
  • You may discover that there are search terms (keywords or key phrases) that work better than your original keywords during your search sessions.  
  • An excellent way to discover additional keywords is to look at books, reference works, e-books, internet, etc.  This will also give you a good foundation for your research.

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.  
  • Combining terms is a step in Boolean algebra.  See the Boolean Machine for visual examples of Boolean searches.

Select the darabases that are most relevant to your topic by reading the descriptions.  Collections such as EBSCO or Gale Access a;;ow you to search multiple databases at the same time.

Combine the keywords with AND to focus your search.  This requires both terms (eg. cardiac and nursing) to be in the articles, books, reports, etc. the computer lists for you.

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.
  • Review subject headings or the thesaurus to see if there are any relevant keywords you may have missed

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.If available, use the abstracts to find relevant articles.  This will make reviewing your result lists go much faster.
If necessary, modify your search term(s) and try again.

Make sure to print out or note citations for each of the items you use.

APA citations will be available in most databases you use.  If not, use the appropriate APA manual, a reliable citation generator or the APA  section of the Purdue OWL website.  Make sure to use the rules for the most current version of the APA Manual. 

If you run into problems, or have difficulty with the research, 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: