Before you begin searching, you need to create an answerable question based on your client or organizational need. This question can help you form a search strategy that you can use to locate potential sources.
Patient: Identify who is impacted by or interested in your topic – client, organization, family members, etc.
Intervention: Identify what aspects will you focus on – interventions, therapies, treatments, exposures, etc.
Comparison: Is there an alternative to compare with the intervention identified?
Outcome: What do you hope to accomplish, measure, or improve?
Time: Is there a time frame that can or will influence the end goal?
Setting: Define the setting where the intervention will be implemented and the relevance of the setting to real world use.
Use the handouts below to identify the main points of your question and other aspects that you can use to form a search string.
As you narrow the focus of your topic, it can be helpful to explore aspects of interest in the scholarly community. Subject-specific encyclopedias are written by experts to familiarize novice researchers with different aspects of the topic or problem, including affected populations and practice implications.