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NURS 425 - Nursing Research - Dr. Lynette Gibson: Introduction


Welcome to the Library Guide for Nursing Research.

This guide is designed to highlight the Library resources, web sites and other tools that will assist you in completing your assignments for Nursing Research.  The course emphasizes the importance of using nursing research in practice.

Your assignment requires you to "identify research and clinical questions" and to define those questions in writing using the PICOT (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Time) format.  You will seach the USC Upstate Library databases for research articles that provide evidence on how to address the questions.

This guide will help you search for relevant nursing evidence about  the question you develop  about practice.  Once you search and find relevant evidence, you will be critiquing the credibility of the evidence. Then you will make a judgment about whether the evidence suggests a change in current practice.

Searching for the evidence that answers your clinical question requires that you:

1.  Formulate and write down your clinical question by describing that question fully.

The method suggested to help you formulate that  question is to ask these questions in the PICOT method.

What patient Population am I asking the question about?

What is the Intervention I am considering?

What Comparison will I make with this intervention? 

What is the Outcome?

What is the Time it takes to meet the outcome of the intervention?

Once you write out your question, list possible keywords that you would use to search for information about your topic. (for help, see tab, Formulating and Writing Your Clinical Question)

2.    If you don't know very much about your topic, search for background information about it.

You could search nursing or nursing research  encyclopedias,  textbooks or interview nurses who know or work with the problem you are addressing. (for help, see tab, Background Information)

3.  Search for  the evidence published in nursing or other related journals on your topic.

In order to do this, you need to know the names and scope of databases that provide indexing to nursing journals.  Today, these online subscription databases often provide the fulltext of the article (often a scanned image of the article as it appeared in the published journal) itself on the database.  You need to know how to construct your search, using keywords and/or subject headings from the database, to describe the questions you are asking.  You also need to know how to narrow your search down by using limiters available on the database search screen.  These include "research" articles only, articles where a nurse is an author, articles published in the last five years, and peer reviewed articles (these are articles that have been reviewed and rated by other professionals before being accepted for publication).  Look at the limiter/search options section of the database search screen.  On CINAHL Complete, there is a powerful search option.  If you check "search within the fulltext of the article"  the computer will look for your search terms in the text of the articles.  (CINAHL Complete's default is to search for your keywords and/or subjects in the the citation information and summary of the article not the fulltext of the article.)  There are many other search options that may be useful to you. (for help, see tab, What database should I search?)

4.     Analyze the type of article you find and make a determination about the quality of the evidence.

Some types of evidence are qualitative research, quantitative research, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, case study, randomized controlled trials, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.  Consider what the weight of that evidence is based on the hierarchy of research evidence (strongest evidence to weakest evidence). (for help, see tab, Evaluating the Evidence)

Dr. Lynette Gibson

Dr. Lynette Gibson

Associate Professor

Mary Black School of Nursing

University of South Carolina Upstate