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Answered By: Ashley Guy, Nursing Librarian
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2018     Views: 287

A portion of your NUR2868 course project asks you to complete a literature search on a topic chosen from a list of options. A literature “search” (LS) is not as extensive as a literature review (LR). Both LR and LS require a search or review of literature and should include the use of current professional peer-reviewed resources. The LS requires a critical look at the resources to ascertain the strength of the resource before using for the assignment, but not necessarily an in-depth formal appraisal. The LS is a written report that summarizes the current knowledge on a given issue. It identifies consistencies, contradictions, and gaps in published, peer-reviewed literature from primary sources, if possible. A full range of information on the topic is considered and information that may conflict with your personal position/values should not be omitted.

The assignment asks you to find a minimum of 5 scholarly/peer-reviewed, primary sources published within the last 5 years. Before you begin your search, it's important to understand:


When you are ready to begin your searching, you should use the databases available in the online library.  The library pays for access to primary, scholarly sources that are not freely available on the web (through Google).  The online library has several databases that are useful for this assignment:

It is important to search several databases as each database can give you access to different resources.  There is some overlap in what you'll find in each database, but to ensure you have completed an exhaustive search, you must search several databases.

Utilizing the limiters available in each database makes your searching much more efficient and effective. Two of the most useful ways to limit your search results is by Publication Date and limiting to articles published in Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals.

Many databases assign subjects to articles to tell the reader what the article is about.  Using the subjects that are assigned to an article can help your narrow or broaden your search and get articles that are more relevant to your topic. Check out our Answer to watch a video for more information: How can I refine my database search results using subjects?

The search process requires a lot of trial and error. Make sure you explore more than the first couple results on a search results page.


Remember: APA references are always put together with the same pieces of information, and in a certain order:

Author. Date. Title. Access Information.

Check out NoodleTools for help creating your APA References page: NoodleTools Online Guide

Your APA citations for the journal articles you find in the databases should look like one of the following examples:

Print Journal Article Without DOI 

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., & Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), Page Numbers.

Webb, S. J., & Jones, E. J. H. (2009). Early identification of autism: Early characteristics, onset of symptoms, and diagnostic stability. Infants & Young Children, 22(2), 100-118.

Journal Article with DOI (Print or Electronic)

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., & Author Last Name, First Initial., Middle Initial. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), Page Numbers. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxxxxxx.xx.x

Awad, A., & Stuve, O. (2010). Multiple sclerosis in the elderly patient. Drugs & Aging, 27(4), 283-294. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.2165/11532120-000000000-00000

Journal Article Without a DOI from a Library Database

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial., & Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), Page Numbers. Retrieved from http://URL for journal home page

Armstrong, S. M., & Schumann, L. (2003). Myasthenia gravis: Diagnosis and treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 15(2), 72-78. Retrieved from http://www.aanp.org/AANPCMS2/Publications/Journal(JAANP)2/

The links below will help you identify the required pieces of information for your APA citations:

How do I cite / reference an ARTICLE from a journal, magazine, or newspaper that was in a database? Can NoodleTools help?

Where are the ready-made APA citations in the EBSCO and ProQuest databases to copy and paste into NoodleTools?

DOI, URL, database name and accession number, or permalink? What on earth do I put in for my APA reference for things from a database?

How do I create a reference for journal without a doi number?


When you are ready to write your literature review, you will need to address the following about each reference:

  • Is the author credible?  What are his or her credentials? 
  • What are the main arguments of the resource?  What is the main point?
  • Did the author use evidence to support his or her findings (such as the results of surveys, interviews, observations, etc.)?  What types of evidence did the author use?
  • Does the author present an unbiased view (did not share his or her personal opinion or preferences)?  Was the author convincing?
  • Is this resource useful in your research?  Why or why not?

We have a template you can use for your literature review below.  Check it out under Links & Files.


The final step of your course project is to create a Power Point presentation.  Use the resources below for help with PowerPoint, finding images, and how to correctly cite your sources and images in your presentation slides.

Power Point! PowerPoint? I need to do a PPT presentation and I don't know how! Help!

What is a good source of images I can use legally in my papers and presentations?

Power Point & APA: citing sources and creating reference lists in PPT presentations.

How do I put figures (images, photos, bar graphs, charts) into my paper in APA style?

How do I create a reference / citation for an IMAGE or PICTURE in NoodleTools?

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