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Nursing 5601 Clinical Institute

Change your topic into a research question

In this course and throughout this program, you will conduct literature reviews. You will be using Library search tools and databases and writing a research question to drive your search. A research question is something that you want to know about your topic; something you will explore and try to locate sources. Defining a clinical question for a specific patient problem aids the searcher in finding relevant evidence in the literature.  The PICO Model is a format to help define your question and start your search.

P (Problem or Patient or Population)
I (Intervention)
C (Comparison)
O (Outcome)

Brainstorm Keywords

Once you have identified your research question, think of the terms and phrases that are essential to understanding the topic.

If the article you find in a database doesn't appear to have the full-text, click on the Full Text button (or link) to see if it's available in another database. If this doesn't work, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan and the full-text article will be delivered to your inbox!


What is a database?

A database is a collection of something. It can be a collection of books and journals, like the library's catalog, or a collection of journal articles, like Ovid, CINAHL, or Medline. Generally, the collection is grouped around a similar thing, like nursing articles, or education articles.

What kinds of databases are available through the library?

The library provides access to hundreds of databases, on many topics. For nursing we have CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), Alt Health Watch for alternative medicine, and many others. To see a list of the databases that may help you in researching your papers, find your subject (Nursing, Health Sciences, Humanities, etc.).

Can I use these at home?

Yes, use your single sign on for access when not on campus.

When I'm looking for journal articles is the full article available?

Sometimes. The library has a link in most of the databases that says Full Text on the upper right side of each article's page. If Full Text does not lead you to an online copy of the article, on the far right window pane click on Request your article. This will lead you to the Interlibrary Loan page, where you can request the full-text article and receive it by email.

I've done a search and I can't find anything. What should I do?

Use the Ask a Librarian chat in most of our databases to ask your questions.

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