1. Carefully read and re-read the instructions in your syllabus or grading rubric to be sure you understand the health issues, topics, cultures, or ethnic groups you are being asked to research and address in your assignment. Also, be sure you understand if specific types of sources are required. If you don't understand, ask your course faculty for clarification.
2. Don't start searching yet -- Write down or type into a Word document exact key phrases and phrases from your assigned topic, culture, or ethnic group. Brainstorm synonyms or other related words and write down or type these as well. These will helpful you to develop better searches.
3. Using what you learned in the Stop Searching, Start Finding workshop, you may want to start combining your terms with AND, OR, or NOT on paper, before you even get into the databases. It can help to think it out ahead of time.
4. Based on your assignment instructions, decide the following:
4. If you need nursing articles, use CINAHL.
5. If you need to discuss a particular culture, look for subject encyclopedias, and reputable web sites to familiarize yourself with some characteristics of the culture. Aside from giving you an overview of some of the major aspects of the culture, theses sources can give you more specific keywords and phrases to search, which may help you find scholarly articles that are relevant to what the issues you have been asked to address in your paper. (Use the "Culture / Ethnicity" tab of this guide for help).
6. After you have some reputable information, you can start using some of the keywords you brainstormed and found in your background information to search for scholarly articles or books and book chapters on the topic.
7. Remember, you will have to synthesize information from multiple sources to address the various questions required of you. It is highly unlikely that you will find a single source that provides an overview of all the information you need for a research paper. Even if you do, simply paraphrasing or summarizing information from a single existing source is not research. Researchers need to draw their own connections from among various sources and synthesize that information into a coherent whole with their writing.
8. Don't be afraid to Ask a Librarian for help! That's why we're here.
Please email Ximena or use the "Schedule Appointment" button to make a WebEx or in person appointment with Ximena. In your email question or your appointment request form, please be as specific as possible about your topic, culture, etc.
Click on a database name to search it.
CINAHL Subject Headings may help you to focus your search on a particular health condition. If you need a refresher about how to use CINAHL Headings, watch this video.
Use CINAHL (The Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature) to find an articles from peer-reviewed nursing journals. (Use the link in the box above or through the library Databases list).
Searching for a health condition and the term risk or risk factors will often work well in CINAHL it is a descriptive term (subheading) often used in the database to narrow a subject search
Hypertension and risk
Hypertension and “risk factors”
On the other hand, the term protective factors as not as common in the healthcare databases, so if you use search on a particular health condition and the phrase “protective factors”, you will get fewer results, and the results you do get may not be as relevant because it is not part of the indexing terminology of the database so the author would have to have used that exact phrase in the appropriate context.
Hypertension and “protective factors” or hypertension and "health factors" probably will not retrieve many useful results especially if you are limiting your results to results from nursing journals, as described below. Adding limiters reduces the number of results you have to choose from.
To search for literature on protective factors or health factors, you will more relevant articles if you determine what the protective factors or health factors are for that condition and run a search on it. For example, you might search for:
Hypertension and (physical activity or exercise)
You might also search your health condition as a subject along with the subheading “prevention and control”. Ask your librarian for help with this.
After you have searched and have a list of results to choose from, check the peer-reviewed limit to the left of your search results. Add nursing to the last line of your search to and use the drop down to the right to select journal subset as shown in Figure 1 (--or just type in SB nursing on the last line and leave the drop down at the default). You can also limit to English language to the left of your results. Scroll down until you see the word “Language” and check the box for “English”).
If you have trouble applying the limiter in the search blanks, another way to apply the Journal Subset limiter is through the "Show More" menu under the year slider on the left. Under the Journal Subset menu, select Nursing.
In some cases, research articles may focus on a population that does not have the same ethnicity as that of your family. This does not necessarily mean the research is not relevant to your family, but you have the option to search for articles that provide a broader overview or perspective.
There are many different types of review articles. The Publication Type limiter "Review" in CINAHL finds the overview type of review articles. These reviews do NOT report new original research, but they usually provide a broader summary of what is known about the topic based on healthcare literature. To limit to review articles in CINAHL, click the “show more” option under the year slider to the left of your search results, shown in Figure 2 below.
In the resulting pop-up box, choose “Review” from the drop down menu labelled “Publication type”, then click the “search” button to apply the limiter, as shown in Figure 3 below.