Nursing Research for Evidence-based Practice

Week 3 Individual Literature Search Worksheet

When doing a literature search for evidence it is important to document where and how you’ve searched for the evidence. Conducting a systematic review of the literature, and properly documenting your findings, will assist you in identifying the “best available evidence” on your topic. STEP 1: Think About the Best Way to Search A. What is your topic or PICOT question? ________________________________________________ B. Begin by listing 3-4 keywords or phrases in the first column. Use words that you think will assist you in finding

“the best” evidence on your topic. Consider words that describe the what, where, and/or who of your topic or PICOT question. After you have listed your key words, use the blanks to the right of your key words to list synonyms (other words) that can be used to say the same thing as the keywords/phrases.

Keywords Synonyms 1.____________: ______________OR ____________ OR _________ 2.____________: ______________OR ____________ OR _________ 3.____________: ______________OR ____________ OR______________________ 4.____________: ______________OR ____________ OR______________________ C. What are the best information resources/databases/websites for your research? ______________ , ______________ , __________ STEP 2: Plan Your First Search A. List your keywords and synonyms being sure to use symbols (* and “quote marks for more than 1 word”) and Boolean operators (OR/AND) to aid your search. ___________ OR ______________OR ___________ OR _________ AND _____________OR ____________________OR __________________OR _______________ AND____________________OR____________________OR ____________OR________________ AND____________________OR ______________OR ___________ OR______________________ B. What limiters did you use in the search? (Date range, language, or any other limiting criteria used) _______________ , ________________ , ____________

STEP 3: Begin Your Search After you’ve thought about your topic, keywords/search terms, and information resources/databases, log in and begin your search. Use the keywords and limiters you identified in Step 2. Be sure to avoid typos, as that can ruin your search. A. What database/resource did you use? _______________________________________ B. How many results did you get? ____ Too few results? Too many results? C. Look at the article citations and identify subject headings (MeSH Terms) that are common across the article

citations. Use these as key words in your next search. STEP 4: Refine Your Search Now refine your search using the same database. Use symbols and the subject headings you’ve identified. You may also want to change your limiters. A. List your keywords, synonyms, phrases or MeSH Terms used in this refined search. ___________ OR ______________OR ____________ OR ________ AND _______ OR ______________OR ____________ OR _______ AND____________________OR____________________ OR ______ OR ________ AND____________________OR ______________OR ____________ OR ________ B. What limiters did you use in this search? ______________ , ______________ , __________ C. Now how many results did you get? ____ Still too few results? Or too many? STEP 5: Refine Your Search Again Using the same database, refine your search again. If you’ve had too many results, try narrowing your population or setting. If you’ve had too few results, expand your population or setting. A. What keywords, synonyms, phrases or MeSH Terms were used in this even more refined search? ___________ OR ______________OR ____________ OR _________ AND _____________OR ______________ OR ____________OR ______________ AND____________________OR____________________ OR ____________OR ______________ AND____________________OR ________ OR ____________OR ______________ B. What limiters did you use in this search? ______________ , ______________ , __________ C. How many results do you have now? ____ D. Are the results relevant? Current? Of good quality? Appropriate for the assignment? Read the abstracts and then

read the full-text. If needed, adjust your search more. Consider searching another database/resource to see what other evidence may be available in a different source. Make sure to continue recording your steps.

STEP 6: Search another Database Search another database using the keywords, synonyms, phrases, MeSH Terms and limiters you used in STEP 5. A. What other database/resource did you search? B. How many results did you get? ________________Too few results? Too many results? C. How do these results compare to the results you obtained in the other database? Are the results relevant? Current?

Of good quality? Appropriate for the assignment? If needed, adjust your search more. Make sure to continue recording your steps.

STEP 7: Reflection Now reflect a bit on your process. Use this sheet for your notes – full sentences are not necessary. You can correct grammar and sentence structure later. A. Why did you select your specific article? (For example, how did it relate to your topic? How current was the

research? Were the findings significant? What was the setting? The population?)

B. What difficulties did you have locating an interesting and appropriate single research study for this assignment?

C. The next time you search for evidence, what will you do differently?

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