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Nursing Research Guide

A One-Stop Resource for Research Assistance


  • The easiest way to broaden your searches is by utilizing OR to enable you to search with multiple synonyms and alternative terms simultaneously.
  • Simply type in OR inside a search field, and then you can add as many alternative terms as you'd like, stringing them all together with OR and casting a wider reach with your search in the process. 

  • The databases and also the library's QuickSearch tool both make it very easy to broaden searches like this. Often, when you type OR inside a search field after a term or phrase that has multiple synonyms, then the suggested such terms will turn into a selection of synonym-strings that you can choose to search with (and also alter by adding or removing terms as you deem necessary) 


  • "Phrase searching" means to search for two or more words together as an exact phrase by putting quotation marks around them.
  • If you search in any database with a term or phrase that is two words or longer, by default the databases will provide both search results containing the exact phrase and also search results that just include all the words in the phrase, and not necessarily together. 
  • For example, a search for the term alcohol abuse will bring up a lot of results like the one below:

  • But if a search is done for "alcohol abuse" instead, then the quotation marks will ensure that the only search results that come up will have the exact phrase like the example below:

  • It is good practice to put in quotes whenever you are searching with any term that is two words or longer to specify what you are searching for. 
  • Truncation is a technique that allows you to broaden searches by including different word endings and spellings
  • To truncate, you type in the root of a word and then add the truncation symbol at the point where the ending or spelling of a word can change
    • For example, searching for patient* in a database search field will find articles that include that term, patient, and also the plural term patients 
  • The truncation symbol can vary by database, but it is usually an asterisk ( * )
  • You can use truncation symbols and also quotes for phrase searching at the same time - searching for the "randomized controlled trial*" will find articles that have the exact search phrases randomized controlled trial and randomized controlled trials
  • Other Examples:
    • Nurs* - nurse, nurses, nursing
    • Genetic* - genetic, genetics, genetically​
    • Physical therap* - physical therapy, physical therapist (example pictured below) 


  • Articles in the databases an the QuickSearch will appear as either PDF Full Text articles that you can access immediately, or articles marked as Full Text Finder, whose accompany links will appear in the following form:

  • Full Text Finder articles are articles that the database can't immediately tell if they are available only as abstracts, or if they are available in full text in another library database. You will need to click on the Full Text Finder link pictured above to find out if it is full text (hence the name). There will be one of two possibilities after clicking the link: 
    • The article is available electronically in full text in another database, and you will be taken directly to the article. 
    • The library does not have the article in full text. When this happens, a new tab will open up with the article record and a message stating this. 

  • If you want the article, you can click on the Request this Item button, which will take you to the login page for our interlibrary loan system where you can request the article and we will try and get an electronic copy for you within 2-3 business days
  • When searching the databases or the QuickSearch, you may understandably want to limit your search results to Full Text or Full Text Only. If you set this limit, then all Full Text Finder articles will be eliminated from your search results. 


  • This is only recommended in cases where you are short on time and submitting an interlibrary loan request is impractical (interlibrary loan requests on average take 2-3 business days). Otherwise, avoid limiting your search results to full text. else you might accidentally deprive yourself of good articles relevant to your research. 

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