Skip to Main Content

Nursing 561

Get Help

Profile Photo
Candise Branum
she / they


In this course, you'll be exploring a health informatics question. The questions provided are very broad, and it is expected that you will focus your question to be more narrow in scope. Once you have built a proper PICOT question, you will then begin to find evidence to help answer your question.

This module will help guide you through the research portion of this assignment, specifically in finding and accessing evidence, as well as how to document your search using a PRISMA flowchart and citing in APA format. 

If you are brand new to using the library databases and would like to see a general library orientation, please review the following resources.

Selecting an Appropriate Database

A crucial part of creating your search strategy is choosing which databases to search. The database(s) you choose to search will be determined by the type of evidence you require. 

Book ► The Foley Library Catalog

Clinical Research ► PubMed, CINAHL

Systematic Review ► Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PubMed, CINAHL

Expert Opinion ► Pubmed, CINAHL, and any article databases that includes academic and trade journals (such as Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, SPORTdiscus, and Biomedical Reference Collection)

Clinical Practice Guideline ► DynaMed, Clinical Key for Nursing, ECRI Guidelines Trust™

Unpublished Clinical Trials ►, World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform

Health Statistics & Data Sets ► CDC National Center for Health Statistics, World Health Organization,

Additional Help

Link to Online Library Orientation


The Basics: Welcome to the Foley Library!

If you are new to the Foley Library, this online orientation will guide you through the basics of using library resources, logging into your account and more.

Link to Searching For Health Evidence guide


Research Help

If you are new to medical research, this guide will introduce you to the basics of finding and accessing biomedical research

Link to EBP Guide


What is Evidence Based Practice?

This guide will introduce you to the concepts of Evidence Based Practice, including how to find evidence to support quantitative or qualitative research questions (PICOT and PEO) and critical appraisal tools for different types of research studies.

About this Assignment

For this assignment, you will choose a broad topic (as provided by your instructor). The PICOT questions provided are intentionally very vague, and it is recommended that you narrow your focus on a particular aspect of the topic. You don't want to end up with 2,000 results to comb through! Instead, work on narrowing this down to a manageable number.

You will also need to limit your results to just articles from the past 5 years. You can do this by using the date of publication filter, found on the left side of your search screen.

Quick Tips

As you begin your assignment, here are a few other tips to keep in mind: 

  • Remember that PICOT is focused on a clinical intervention; often people try to make PICOT fit a non-clinical intervention, but that will make the assignment more confusing. Make sure you question is really about a clinical intervention. 
  • Use Boolean Operators to connect your search terms. Use "OR" to use synonyms (if you have multiple search terms that mean the same thing), and use "AND" to connect each must-have concept. See our guide for more info about constructing a search using boolean operators.
  • If you are using “OR” in your search (to find synonyms), make sure you use a separate search line for each concept. Alternatively, you can clump together like-concepts using parenthesis. For example:
    (lumbar pain OR low back pain)  AND  exercise  AND  (spinal manipulation OR "manual therapy" OR chiropractic)  
  • Avoid solely using acronyms/abbreviations. Instead, spell out the acronym; you can combine the two terms with the boolean operator "OR." For example, your search for ICU would be: ICU OR Intensive Care Unit. Just be careful, as sometimes acronyms can bring up irrelevant results.
  • Do not limit your search to full-text; any article that you can’t get immediate access to, you can request via Interlibrary Loan (which generally takes 1-3 days)
  • Avoid articles that are just general literature reviews.

Too few results?

  • Consider using synonyms for your search terms.

Too many results? 

  • Use filters to narrow down your results. 
  • Use controlled vocabulary like MeSH or CINAHL Headings. Controlled Vocabulary / Subject Headings vary from database to database. There are a few videos that show how to use subject headings in the PubMed and CINAHL, but feel free to reach out to me if you have additional questions on how to use subject headings in a particular database. 
Accessibility | Proxy Logout