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Graduate Nursing Library Guide

A guide to advanced search techniques & strategy for scholarly literature research.

Tips for Precise Information Retrieval

Here are some common search pitfalls to avoid and best practices to elevate your search results:

  • Keyword Conciseness: Aim for fewer, essential terms! 
    • Never enter your entire research question as a phrase!
    • Instead of Importance of patient education in post-surgical recovery 
      try "patient education" AND post-surgery
  • Phrase Power: Use quotation marks for exact phrases.
    • When you enter pain management a database separates the words and looks for pain AND management.  
    • Instead, enter "pain management" (with quotation marks around the phrase).
      This tells the database to search for your phrase EXACTLY as entered. 
  • Wildcard Mastery: Use the wildcard symbol * at the end of terms to capture variations.
    • EBSCO databases like CINAHL & MEDLINE search words exactly as entered. You must tell them if you want plurals or other alternate word endings searched.
    • Instead of Nurse, enter Nurs*.
      • You will get results for nurse, nurses, nurses', and nursing
      • Surg* produces results for surgery, surgeries, surgical, surgically, and surgeons.
  • Learn to use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • The Softchalk tutorial in the next section shows you how.

Soft Chalk Tutorials

Originally created for an EBDM course, these brief tutorials will help you with the fundamentals of searching. 

Types of Evidence

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