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
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.
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.
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”
Most JML resources are located online in 30+ databases. Below is a short list of your most important databases.
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 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.
Library staff are available Monday- Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 pm
Schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a librarian
Call 402.354.7251 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org