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Nursing Research Guide

Guidance for Nurses and Allied Health Researchers

Steps for Effective Research

1. Get to know your topic thoroughly (read background sources; textbooks, review articles, and encyclopedia articles). This will help you define an appropriate PICO question.

2. Find and track keywords, MeSH terms, etc. (keep notes).

3. Choose your search location strategically (CINAHL,  PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, OneSearch).

4. Observe search results and adapt (every search gives you information, either about your topic or your search technique).

5. Use articles you find to get to more articles (note keywords and authors, check the reference section, track citations using Google Scholar, see video on this page).

6. Save yourself time by taking notes as you work so you are backtracking less.

Keeping Track of Research

Database Accounts

If you do not already have an account with NCBI (PubMed) consider starting one. It is also possible to create an account in EBSCOhost (CINAHL/MEDLINE) although you will need to by on the Olympic network to do so. These built-in tools can make tracking your research easier.

Citation Managers

There is a wide variety of citation managers available and if you have not yet started using one, be aware they might help with this class. There are many that require a fee but I will highlight a couple here that are free.

Zotero (user guide for Zotero from Cornell University, FAQ from Cornell University) *Bonus* It is easy to create a shared folder for group work.

Mendeley (guide for Mendeley users from University of California Berkeley, note the non-UCB user instructions)

EndNote Basic (guide to EndNote Basic from the makers, Clarivate)

Citation Chaining Using Google Scholar

Critically Evaluating Research Articles

How to Read a Paper

Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh continues to update the book How to Read a Paper which is based on a series of articles published in the BMJ.

How to Read a Paper series, British Medical Journal

The Medline Database #1

Getting Your Bearings (deciding what the paper is about) #2

 Assessing the Methodological Quality (starts on page 5 of the PDF) #3

Statistics for the Non-statistician. I: Different Types of Data Need Different Statistical Tests (starts on page 4 of the PDF) #4

Statistics for the Non-statistician. II: “Significant” Relations and their Pitfalls (starts on page 5 of the PDF) #5

Papers that Report Drug Trials (starts on page 4 of the PDF) #6

Papers that Report Diagnostic or Screening Tests #7

Papers that Tell You What Things Cost (Economic Analyses) [starts on page 4 of the PDF] #8

Papers that Summarise Other Papers (Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) [starts on page 8 of the PDF] #9

Papers that Go Beyond Numbers (Qualitative Research) [starts on page 5 of the PDF] #10