Skip to Main Content

EDD - Doctorate Healthcare Education & Leadership

Search Basics

Choose Your Search Terms

Now that you have a research topic, you’re ready to create your search terms! You might be tempted to type your research question into a database -


Databases use keywords and subject terms to find articles. Phrases and sentences will not yield relevant results. Instead, focus on the the most important words in your research statement.

Do peer support groups improve A1C levels in diabetics over a 12-month period?

Next, you will need to find synonyms (similar terms). Because some people say “soda” and others say “pop,” your first choice of keywords may not yield the best results. Grab your thesaurus or Google and start jotting down terms in groups. Consult a medical thesaurus to learn the language of your profession. If you are writing an argumentative essay, you should also create an “opposing” side or antonyms.

peer support groups

peer group

support group

informal counseling

social support

peer support

online support

face-to-face support

diabetes management

A1C level

glycemic control

blood glucose



long-term outcome

short-term outcomes



older adults

male vs. female



Boolean Operators help you focus your database searches, so you can find relevant articles faster. The operators include AND, OR, and NOT.

Operator Function Example Results

Narrows results by combining terms

Hint: The AND combines different concepts/terms. 

clinical simulation AND knowledge retention

virtual learning AND student engagement

Articles must contain both/all terms

Expands results by searching for articles containing either term

Hint: Use synonyms/alike words or terms: Soda OR pop OR carbonated beverage

online OR virtual

glycemic control OR diabetes management

Articles will contain any of the included terms

Eliminates articles containing the included term

Hint: Use sparingly. It's easy to exclude relevant articles.

apple NOT computer

Articles focus on the fruit, not the technology company. 

Warning: But an article using a "computer analysis" while studying the apple would be excluded from the results.

Use a Combination of AND and OR

You can use a combination of AND and OR segments to layer your search. Use the database’s advanced search functions to keep your combinations grouped together, or group with parenthesis.

To find articles about diabetic support groups, you might use these terms:

(diabetes) AND (support group OR peer support)

This tells the database to search for articles containing the terms “diabetes” and “support groups” OR “diabetes” and “peer support”

Databases/Find Articles

Most JML resources are located online in 30+ databases. Below is a short list of your most important databases.

Nursing & Allied Health
  • CINAHL Complete - Covers all aspects of nursing and allied health disciplines with substantial full text content.
  • COCHRANE Systematic Reviews - Protocols and reviews. Remember to log out when done.
  • Health Business Elite - Management side of healthcare, full-text articles
  • MEDLINE Complete - National Library of Medicine's definitive research tool for medical literature, for biomedical research, life sciences, pharmacy, health services and administration, and other fields as they relate to medicine and healthcare.
  • ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health -  Index topics related to nursing and allied health. 
  • ERIC - Education database with full text peer-reviewed, conference proceedings, and research reports
  • Academic Search Elite - Covers a broad specturm of topics from education to business to health

You will be prompted to enter your NMC credentials when accessing resources from a non-Methodist computer

ERIC - Education Resources Information Center - is a digital library of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Dept. of Education). Its contents includes full-text or abstracts for journal articles, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, dissertations, and policy papers.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar strives to find scholarly or academic sources on the internet. You may choose to use Scholar because your topic is beyond the scope of our database subscriptions. Using Library Links (as demonstrated in the video below) allows you to see whether some results exist in our databases. This is handy, because often only an article's abstract is available, and you must either pay to download an article or get access via a library subscription.


  • Goes beyond our subscription databases, so non-health-related searches may have more luck
  • Use your Google account to manage sources
  • The "Times Cited By" function is handy for finding articles citing the article of interest - this may help you find newer articles on the same topic


  • Often no full-text is freely available, so you will need to request interlibrary loan or check Journal Finder for availability
  • Few filters - you will need to use your judgment and keyword wizardry
  • Includes dissertations, student papers, and grey literature, so you cannot easily filter to just scholarly articles

 Library staff are available Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    Schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a librarian   

 Call 402.354.7251  or  Email