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The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic resources for conducting research in nursing in the Library. Click on the tabs above for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools for research in nursing.
To learn more about the library and its resources and how you can exploit them to your advantage, register in the Research Skills Tutorial on D2L. There are several sections in the tutorial with a short quiz at the end of each; at the end you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Many professors require you to take this tutorial--and once you finish it, you can save your certificate to reprint as often as necessary.
In the fall, the library hosts live Orientation tours as well as Zotero classes which you can sign up for at the library's entrance, and even after the formal schedule is finished, we are very happy to put on special classes at the request of at least 5 students. If you would like to arrange a special class, or you think your course would benefit from some in-class library instruction, please ask your professor to contact the librarian responsible for your faculty to set up some sessions.
Help with a Paper
I am available to help you throughout the academic year. If you would like to arrange for an individual appointment, please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a requested date and time, and a brief description of your project.
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
By telephone: 705-675-4803, or toll free at 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: Distance_l@laurentian.ca
Quick Tips on Preparing for Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
The best general reference work is: Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health 2nd ed. 2006. (In print).
The right panel features some of the key research aids in the discipline of Nursing.
- MEDLINEplus Health Information From US National Library of medicine. Includes a dictionary, encyclopedia and guide to drugs.
- Encyclopedia of Nursing Research Online
- Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health (2007) In Print.
Why Use Books?
- Books are extremely valuable resources when doing in-depth research on a topic! Authors have hundreds of pages to give detailed explanations and background information surrounding the various facets of your research interest.
- Using this kind of in-depth information will make it easier to form a research question or thesis statement (or even spark your inspiration)
- The bibliographies found in books are extensive, and will point you to other resources to add to your own resource list.
- Remember: scholars write journal articles under the assumption that you already have a relatively thorough understanding of the topic – this means that you will likely not find the foundational information needed for your topic in the beginning stages of your research process. In this sense, books become indispensable
Laurentian uses LC Classification. Some patrons may wish to browse for books in the stacks; Nursingis generally classified under Medicine (R), more specifically Nursing holds the classification RT.
Various designations under Medicine (R):
RA: Public aspects of medicine
RC: Internal medicine
RG: Gynecology and obstetrics
RM: Therapeutics; pharmacology
RS: Pharmacy and materia medica
RZ: Other systems of medicine
Searching the Catalogue
The catalogue is your primary tool for finding books in the J.N. Desmarais Library. You can also use the catalogue to find other materials, including government publications and journals (the journals themselves--not individual articles).
You can search the catalogue by:
- Journal Title
When you know the book you are searching for, pick Title or Author; when you are searching for a topic, start with Keyword unless you know the exact Subject heading describing your topic.
More on searching the Catalogue is available in Module 5 of the Research Skills Tutorial in D2L.
In addition to books, you may wish to search for book-length Master's theses or Ph.D dissertations.
Best bet: Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest).
If you are also looking for recent theses or dissertations produced by Laurentian graduates, check out our Research Repository - LUZONE. Note that since 2013, before graduation all Masters and Doctoral candidates MUST deposit their theses or dissertations in this repository.
Articles: Quick Tips
The databases to the right provide references to many scholarly journal articles and papers.
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields.
- Use Search Operators such as "OR" and "AND" to expand or reduce your results.
- Review those items that look relevant, then, exploit the details within those entries to help lead you to other relevant articles.
- Pay attention to the subject headings (often called "descriptors") to see how the database describes your topic and use them to find related articles.
- Find other papers written by the same author; these will typically be on similar subjects.
- Follow citation trails: other articles that have cited this article will probably be on a related subject and will include citations to other articles of interest.
- For more Secrets of Searching a Database, review that section in How to Research Like a Librarian.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
When researching a paper, it is useful to consult the citations used by the author of an article that you find relevant. But that article itself may have been cited by other authors after it was first written. Two sources help you identify such citations:
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
The Canadian Nurses Association believes: "Evidence-informed decision-making is a continuous interactive process involving the explicit, conscientious and judicious consideration of the best available evidence to provide care." However, the Association concludes: "It is imperative to acknowledge that no level of evidence eliminates the need for professional clinical judgment or for the consideration of client preferences.
According to Nurse-One: "Patients depend on nurses to do the best on their behalf. As part of their professional accountability, nurses must continually examine the best way to deliver care...When delivered in a context of caring and an organizational culture that promotes best practices, EBP is associated with higher quality care and better patient outcomes than care that is steeped in tradition." Further "EBP also reduces practice variations, promoting greater consistency of care and contributing greatly to quality and patient safety agendas... EBP leads to improved health care provider satisfaction... including increased nurse autonomy...Work stress is reduced for nurses when evidence-based guidelines are enacted.... At a system level, “nursing and health-care services based on the best currently available evidence have been shown to decrease costs” and improve cost-effectiveness."
Types of Evidence
Canadian Nurses Association believes that a variety of sources are being used by nurses to facilitate their use of evidence. These sources include systematic reviews, research studies and abstraction journals that summarize valid, clinically useful published studies, and clinical practice guidelines. Guidelines are based on the most rigorous research available, and when research is not available, they are grounded in expert opinion and consensus."
The 6S Pyramid: Resources for Evidence-Based Practice
The 6S pyramid is arranged in a hierarchy, with the different levels outlined and colour-coded to the right of this page
To begin your search for relevant evidence, use the concepts identified in your focussed question , remembering:
A piece of evidence's ability to guide clinical action increases as you move up the pyramid.
The breadth of knowledge is largest at the base of the triangle.
N.B. This and the following panel of this Guide has been adapted from one developed at McMaster University. It has been modified for local use.
Three Key References
Here are three articles, the first which will puts the 6S system in context and the second two which explain how it can be searched:
DiCenso, A., Bayley, L., & Haynes, R. B. (2009). Accessing pre-appraised evidence: fine-tuning the 5S model into a 6S model. Evidence based nursing, 12(4), 99-101.
Robeson, P., Dobbins, M., DeCorby, K., & Tirilis, D. (2010). Facilitating access to pre-processed research evidence in public health. BMC public health, 10(1), 95.
Windish, D. (2013). Searching for the right evidence: how to answer your clinical questions using the 6S hierarchy. Evidence Based Medicine, 18(3), 93-97.
The 6S Pyramid in Action
Integrating information from the lower levels of the hierarchy with individual patient records, systems represent the ideal source of evidence for clinical decision-making.
Summaries are regularly updated clinical guidelines or textbooks that integrate evidence-based information about specific clinical problems.
Clinical Practice Guidelines
CPG Infobase: Clinical Practice Guidelines Database Clinical Practice Guidelines published by the Canadian Medical Association
- National Guideline Clearinghouse (US) In advanced search, filter by Clinical Specialty--Nursing
A list of links to Evidence-Informed Practice is available from from the OAPAN Canadian Center of Excellence.
- Evidence Alerts (McMaster Plus and DynaMed Plus (You must first REGISTER for a FREE account)
- First Consult (via Clinical Key: Select "First Consult" from the drop down menu next to the search bar)
- Up to Date (Used by a variety of health professionals).
SYNOPSES OF SYNTHESES
Synopses of syntheses, summarize the information found in systematic reviews. By drawing conclusions from evidence at lower levels of the pyramid, these synopses often provide sufficient information to support clinical action.
Commonly referred to as a systematic review, a synthesis is a comprehensive summary of all the evidence surrounding a specific research question.
- Joanna Briggs Institute EBP Database Limit Publication Type to Systematic Reviews
- Pubmed Clinical Inquiries
SYNOPSES OF SINGLE STUDIES
Synopses of single studies summarize evidence from high-quality studies. The following evidence-based abstract journals are the best place to find this type of information:
- Cancer Treatment Reviews (Formerly Evidence-Based Oncology)
- Evidence Based Midwifery
- International Journal of Evidence-based Healthcare
- Journal of Evidence Based Medicine and Healthcare
Studies represent unique research conducted to answer specific clincial questions.
The CINAHL, OVID (Medline, PsycINFO), and Pubmed databases can be searched using the Clinical Queries filter, limiting your results to specific clinical research areas: Therapy, Prognosis, Review, Qualitative, and Causation (Etiology)
For further information and tips on using the Clinical Queries filter, please visit the following links:
- "The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators." Check out the videos from this website.
- Access the CDC's extensive image and video gallery
- ver 200 peer-reviewed educational videos designed to teach clinical procedures requiring skilled technicians and specialized physical examination
Need a Film Not in Laurentian's Online Film Collections?
Consult: Watmedia (Provincial Multi-media Catalogue). Material held by Laurentian may be signed out in the library. To order a film not available at Laurentian, please email LUFilmLibrary@laurentian.ca and specify the date(s) you require the item.
Questions: Please contact Ashley Thomson who manages the Intrafilm Project.
Start with This
In addition, the data librarians at York University (Toronto) have compiled a thorough guide to various Data and Stats Sources, not only for Canada, but for the United States and other International locations.
International, national, and provincial statistical health data are important sources of information for public health, allowing for the analysis, evaluation, and development of policies and services.
We cite sources to acknowledge the work of others, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty or plagiarism.
The University of Toronto has made available a comprehensive set of guidelines on How NOT to Plagiarize .which deserves to be read by every student
Citation Styles in Laurentian's Nursing Program
At Laurentian, professors will specify the citation style to be used. In Nursing, it is normally APA. To learn more about the APA and other citation styles, consult Laurentian's guide to citation styles.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation manager that allows you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero: