NU 355: Research Methods in Nursing

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Search Tips

Use “Advanced Search” to build your searches. Put each concept into its own search box.

Use quotation marks when searching for specific phrases.

If you're not getting back enough results, add synonyms or related terms to each box using “OR.”

If you can’t think of additional keywords, do a general Google search for your term or use the database's thesaurus or index to find related terms. 

If you're getting back too many results, use the database thesaurus or subject index to search for the most relevant results. You can also add an additional concept to your search. Consider focusing on a particular population or more specific aspect of your original research question.

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Best Bet Databases

MeSH - Medical Subject Headings

Similar to books in a catalog, each article appearing in a database is assigned one or more subject categories so users can easily locate resources based on their individual needs. Searching for articles within subject headings is a  handy shortcut when filtering your search results.

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) are subject-specific categories and vocabulary assigned to medical resources. Created and curated by the National Institute of Health's Library of Medicine, they provide "a hierarchically-organized terminology for indexing and cataloging of biomedical information such as MEDLINE/PubMed and other NLM databases."

Tips for Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches articles, books, theses, and other content. Searching Google Scholar is easy, but it doesn't give you the ability to filter to peer-reviewed journal articles.

If you need to be sure the article you found is from a peer-reviewed journal, use Ulrichsweb as described in the box below.

Always access Google Scholar from the link above or the "Resources" list on the front page of the library website. When you use these links, your MU credentials will be authenticated, giving you access to library resources found in Google Scholar. Look for the "Full-Text @ MU Library" link in your results list. You can also click on the Google Scholar logo above to search using your MU credentials.

One useful feature of Google Scholar is the ability to find articles that have cited an article you already have. See the handout below for more information.

Check for Peer-Review

Not sure if a particular journal is peer-reviewed? Check out Ulrichsweb. This database (also found in the A-Z database list from "Quick Links" on the library website) provides detailed information on publications. Look for the referee icon to indicate it is a peer-reviewed journal.

The black and white “ref jersey” icon in the screenshot below indicates that Higher Education is a peer-reviewed journal, but Education Week is not.