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Helpful advice for ADN and LPN students' information research assignments..........
Last Updated: Sep 24, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

ADN 150/173 Print Page

ADN 150/173 Agenda, Handout

Lehigh Carbon Community College- Rothrock Library

Intro to Information Research for Nursing Students

ADN 150/173; NUR 106


lifelong, independent, critically thinking learners

best research + expertise + patient’s values à            best decisions for patient’s care

professional literature written by nurses, written for nurses, peer-reviewed by nurses



1.       Library catalog subject search: diabetes   (books, ebooks, DVDs, streaming videos, etc.)


2.       Select an appropriate database    (scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, newspapers, ebooks, etc.)

·         Health Source: Nursing, PubMed, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health, Health & Wellness Resource Center


3.       Select a search screen

·         Basic Search screen searches citation & abstract fields

·         Advanced search screen for a more precise search



4.       Determine your search terms (a.k.a. subjects, descriptors, keywords, indexing terms)

·         Use only significant words that are likely to appear in your document (mostly nouns)!

e.g., What kind of treatment is used for people who have a hip fracture?

·         hip

·         fracture 

·         treatment


5.       Consider including relevant synonyms, related words, and variant spellings in your search

·         fracture      fractures      fractured

·         elderly      aged      older adults

·         asthma     respiratory diseases      lung disease

·          cerebrovascular accident     cerebrovascular accidents     cerebral vascular accident                              cerebral vascular disease     cerebral vascular disorder     CVA     stroke 


***Watch for better terms in the title, abstract, article, subject field, et cetera, and revise your search.

***If all else fails, first search for your term in the article titles, then see what descriptors those articles use.


6.       Determine your connectors, if necessary

·         hip and  fracture

results will contain:              all documents containing the words hip and fracture

·         hip or fracture

results will contain:              all documents containing hip or fracture or both terms

·         hip and fracture and (elderly or aged or older people)

results will contain:  hip and fracture and one or more of these: elderly or  aged or older people


        treatment and hip and fracture


7.       Include special characters (a.k.a. truncation, wild cards), if appropriate

·         treatment and hip and fracture*

                fracture* = fracture, fractures, fractured

                Some databases use a + or ! instead of a *. Consult their help screens.


8.       Although imprecise, one way to limit your results to nursing journals: search for nurs* in Publication Name field or another field   (NOT NECESSARY IN PUBMED)

·         treatment and hip and fracture* and nurs*


9.       Check your spelling!


10.    Determine your limiters

·         Search all dates, a particular date, or a range of dates?

·         Limit results to full-text articles?

·         Search a particular publication? Scholarly journals ? Trade publications ?

·         Read the screen for additional features


11.    Conduct your search

·         The database will find all documents (either full-text or just abstracts and citations) in its collection that match the criteria you set

·         (elderly or aged or older adults) and nurs* and …

   communication, cognition, sleep problems, incontinence, confusion, depression, pressure ulcers, mobility



12.    View and evaluate your results (a.k.a. citation list, browse screen, document list)

·         Nursing publication ?

·         Place of publication?

·         Scholarly journal or trade publication ?

·         Relevant to your topic? Fits the assignment? Long enough?  Adequately complex?

·         Up-to-date, considering the topic?

·         Balanced point-of-view? One-sided opinion? Fact?

·         What do you know about the author’s credentials? Can you trust the information to be accurate?

·         Revise the terms and rerun the search?


13.    If necessary, revise your search

·         Check your spelling!

·         Connect more terms ?

·         Remove some terms ?

·         Substitute synonyms, related terms, or variant spellings ?

·         Change the limiters ?

·         Change the search fields (e.g., subject, title, publication, full-text, citation & abstract) ?


14.    Be persistent!!

15.    Click on Help or Tips

16.    Print, save, or email your choices


17.    Full-Text Periodicals: E & Print

18.    Paper periodicals

19.    Publisher’s Web site? Interlibrary Loan? LVH?


20.    PubMed, ProQuest Nursing, Health & Wellness

21.    Nursing InfoGuide  (

22.    APA guide

23.    LB109                                                                                                                                                   bb,08/28/12




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