Q. How do I find nursing articles to answer my PICO clinical question?


Steps to researching your PICO question

  1. Identify the main keywords in PICO question
    1. For adults over age 65 (P) does a daily 30 minute exercise regimen (I) reduce the future risk of heart attack (O) compared with no exercise regimen (C)?
  2. Enter 2-3 of these keywords into the database search box.  Do not copy and paste your entire PICO question into the search box.
  3. Before running your first search, use limiters to refine your results
    1. Publication date
    2. Scholarly journals
    3. Publication Type
    4. Language
  4. Identify which subjects the database is using to describe your topic. For example, some databases recognize abbreviations, but others don't. These subjects can vary database to database.
    1. Myocardial Infarction (instead of heart attack)
    2. Myocardial Infarction Prevention and Control (reduce future risk)
    3. Aerobic Exercises
    4. Aged: 65+ years
  5. Rerun your search using the database subjects you just identified.  Use additional limiters, like age and geography, as needed. You may need to conduct multiple searches using a variety of search term combinations.
  6. If you have too few results, try taking out one or two of your search terms.  If you have too many results, try adding an additional search term.
  7. Keep doing this process until you find at least one article that fits your topic.  Then use the “Find similar articles” feature in the database to find additional articles on the same topic.

The following resources are a good place to start your literature search:

Check out the following short videos for further information on conducting your search:

  • Last Updated Feb 12, 2020
  • Views 2981
  • Answered By Ashley Fyvie, Nursing Librarian

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