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Medical Assisting

How to Begin a Search

Once you've formulated your research question, use keywords from your question to build a search string. Enter these terms into the databases. For example: "hand sanitizers" AND infection

Remember that one of the easiest ways to find evidence-based practice research is to look for systematic reviews or meta-analysis articles which find, evaluate and summarize several research studies in one article. Follow the steps in the box below to incorporate this into your search.

Also look at the Sample Search Box in the middle of the page below.

For more help on Evidence-Based Practice principles, check out the box Documents Useful for EBP further down on this guide.

Research Tips

Some basic tips to remember:

  • use quotation marks around phrases (e.g. "birth control")
  • use truncation (an * at the end of a word) to find words with multiple endings (e.g. nurs* finds nurse, nurses, nursing all in one search)
  • use the words AND, OR & NOT when combining search terms
    • AND finds both words
    • OR finds either words or both
    • NOT finds one word but not the other (e.g. diabetes NOT type II)

Sample Search Box

This is a sample search in the CINAHL Database. In this example we:

  • used the keywords "hand hygiene"
  • narrowed down to "systematic reviews" or meta-analysis in the second box
  • narrowed down to nursing journals in the third box by typing in nurs* (which finds nurse, nurses, nursing, etc. in the title of the journal)
  • Click Search to see your results.

Library Databases Useful for Finding Evidence-Based Practice Research & Search Tips

CINAHL Complete with Full Text

  1. Notice the series of empty boxes you will use to enter your search string and conduct your search 
  2. In the first set of boxes, enter your search terms and the phrase in quotes "systematic review" OR "meta-analysis" (e.g. child* AND asthma AND "systematic review")
  3. Try narrowing down to nursing journals by typing nurs* in the second row of boxes and choosing Publication Name in the box beside it
  4. Click Search
  5. Review the results
  6. Complete several searches in a row by typing in different combinations of search terms and view the results

ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source 

  1. If you don't see the words "Advanced Search" near the top of the page, click "Advanced" near the top of the page to open the Advanced Search screen
  2. Notice the series of empty boxes you will use to enter your search string and conduct your search 
  3. In the first set of boxes, enter your search terms and the phrase in quotes "systematic review" OR "meta-analysis" (e.g. women AND hypertension AND "systematic review")
  4. Try narrowing down to nursing journals by typing nurs* in the second row of boxes and choosing Publication Name in the box beside it
  5. Click the Search button
  6. Complete several searches in a row by typing in different combinations of search terms and view the results