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- Select a topic of interest and then state your topic as a question
- Identify the key concepts and words that describe your question
- Locate and retrieve information sources that support the topic question; this includes using library catalogs to locate reference books, encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks, statistics, videos, and other media
- Use online databases to find journal articles, newspapers, statistics, and other kinds of supporting materials
- Find Internet resources; this may include government documents, images, graphs, data, maps and more
- Evaluate what you find; take detailed notes; summarize and quote source material accurately
- Cite your sources of information accurately
- Use a bibliographic citation management program such as RefWorks or EndNote to organize materials and write your paper with properly formatted citations
When you find articles of interest in a database or search engine, bibliographic management programs such as RefWorks or EndNote make it easy to pull the citations into a personal database and create a collection of references and cite them in your document - the software will automatically put in correctly formatted citations and a bibliography. RefWorks is a web-based program that is free to UT Health Science Center San Antonio students, residents, faculty and staff. You can purchase EndNote from the University Computer Store, TechZone. The Briscoe Library provides classes and support for both programs.
When searching within a literature database (e.g. PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus), try using these four search terms and symbols:
- Includes both keywords/concepts
- Narrows search
- Example: evidence-based practice AND education
- Either keyword/concept may be present
- Con=mbine synonyms and similar concepts
- Expands search
- Example: tennis elbow OR lateral epicondylitis
- Groups keywords/concepts together
- Similar to algebra's use of parentheses -forces a specific order
- Example: (drug OR prescription) AND overdose
- Includes word ending variants
- Expands search
- Example: audiol* = audiology, audiologist, etc.
There are other search terms and symbols available, but these are the top four you should know.