Skip to Main Content

NUR 7004 - Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Practice: Find the Concept

This guide is intended to provide suggestions to help you find information for the assignments in NUR 7004.

Choosing Where to Search for the "Find the Concept" Assignment

Links to the databases and to video modules and other help are available in the bottom box of this center column.  For now, here are some Quick Tips to help you decide where to start your search.

  • If your concentration is clearly specific to Nursing, start in CINAHL.
  • If your concentration is clearly specific to Psychology, start in PsycINFO. (Psychiatric/mental health nurses should be able to find relevant results in both CINAHL and PsycINFO.  If you don't find enough in CINAHL, try PsycINFO).
  • If your concentration is very broad or multidisciplinary, consider searching QuickSearch and/or Web of Science Core Collection. 

QuickSearch searches many of the library's subscription databases simultaneously, so it covers a wide range of disciplines (including, but not limited to Nursing, Medicine, and Psychology) and publication formats (books, magazines, news, peer-reviewed journals, videos, government publications, and more).

The Web of Science Core Collection includes Science Citation Index -Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index so it is good for both the sciences and social sciences (including Nursing).

Identifying Research Articles with a Theory or Theoretical Basis for the Find a Concept Assignment - Process for a CINAHL Search

If you are having trouble finding research articles that use a particular theory, you can either search for theor* as a keyword along with your specialty or topic of interest (this searches for the keyword theory, theories, or theoretical--or you can use the subject heading for theory to focus in articles that include a theory as one of the article subjects.  Using subject headings might make the search results a bit more relevant and manageable for you.

The instructions below are for CINAHL. A similar approach could be used in PsycINFO or other databases.  However, the indexing terminology will be somewhat different in other databases. Please email Ximena for detailed help with other databases or if you have questions or problems with the CINAHL steps below.

CINAHL works best for topics related to nursing or allied health. If you need to search a topic that is broadly interdisciplinary or psychology-related and you have questions, please email Ximena.

Here is how you would use subject headings in CINAHL to search for articles that include a theory:

1. Start in CINAHL (link available in the next box or the Databases page).
2. Under the 3 search blanks, there are 3 tabs.  Choose the CINAHL Headings tab.
3. A search blank will appear under the CINAHL Headings tab.. Type theory in that "Search for Terms in CINAHL Headings" search blank. Then hit the "enter" key or click the magnifying glass on the far right side of the search blank to start the search.
4. The relevant subject headings will appear under the CINAHL headings search blank..
5. Click the checkbox to the left of the word Theory.
(This will also add a checkbox to the "Explode" column, which means that the search will automatically be expanded to the more specific types of theories listed below if they are used as indexing terms for an article in CINAHL).
6. Click the "Add to Search" button above the Explode column label.

You will now see the search (MH "Theory+") in the top search blank.  Get rid of the second parenthesis,  then type or theor*) on the same line. 

7. On the same line, type NOT “grounded theory”.  (Grounded theory is a type of qualitative research method so it is not an appropriate to use as a theoretical basis for your concept).

8. Note: Your top search blank should read:  (MH "Theory+" or theor*) NOT "grounded theory"
This search string gets articles that include different theories as a subject or the keywords theory, theories, or theoretical.
 9. Now, you can add keywords related to your specialty, concentration or topic on the second search blank and run the search again. This should bring your results down to a much smaller number. 
NOTE: If adding keywords for your concentration or topic gets too few results, consider repeating the subject heading process described above to do a subject search on your concentration.   

10. Click "Advanced Search" on the right under the search blank to add more search blanks. The second search blank should already contain the additional keywords you added about your speciality, concentration or topic.

11. On the third search blank, type PT "Research".

12. Add another search blank. On the fourth search blank, type LA "English"

These search terms should limit your retrievals to research and English language.

13. Verify the articles you select are indeed research (have a results and methods section) and that they are more than just one or two pages. (CINAHL also includes abstracts from conference papers that include only the abstract, but the full paper is not available. You want to make sure you have a full length research article)

14. Select the peer-reviewed button under the search blank to apply that limiter.

15. Verify that the articles do actually make use of a theory or conceptual model and that they are not referring only to "grounded theory".  The search should have eliminated those instances but you still have to verify that it meets the requirements of the Find a Concept assignment listed in your syllabus. Including the keyword theor* in your search does not necessarily guarantee that the article will include a theoretical basis.

If CINAHL did not work for you, try QuickSearch

CINAHL does not always work well for all concepts.  If you can't get results in CINAHL, consider a broad search in QuickSearch.  QuickSearch retrieves results from many different databases at once, but it does not have as many options for refining your search as our subject-specific databases.

Here is how you could do a keyword search in QuickSearch:

1. Start in QuickSearch (link available on this page or the Databases page).
2. In the top search blank, type ( theor* NOT "grounded theory").

This search string gets articles that include different theories as a subject or the keywords theorytheories, or theoretical.

3. In the second search blank type keywords for your concept or concentration of interest.

4. Run the search.  You may get thousands of results back, but QuickSearch sorts according to relevance by default. Above your list of results on the right side of the page, choose "Page Options" to view up to 50 results per page.
5. Verify the articles you select are indeed research (have a results and methods section).

6. Verify that the articles do actually make use of a theory (ies) or conceptual model (s) and that they are not referring only to "grounded theory".  The search should have eliminated those instances but you still have to verify that it meets the requirements of the Find a Concept assignment listed in your syllabus. Including the keyword theor* in your search does not necessarily guarantee that the article will include a theoretical basis.

"How to" modules to help with database searching and links to databases for "Find the Concept"

There's usually more than one way to find something on the libraries' web site.  You do NOT need to use all of these links. Use the access point(s) you find to be the most efficient for you!

Ask Us

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Questions?
Ask your librarian!

Profile Photo
Ximena Chrisagis
she/her
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
Contact:
Dunbar Library 120
(937) 775-3516

More Information Resources for...