NURS 2100: Survey of Professional Nursing

Database Search Tips

Keywords/Search Terms

  • Keywords (also called search terms) are words that describe or relate to your research topic.
  • You'll need to use keywords to search for articles about your topic.
  • Choosing the best keywords can be difficult and takes practice. The easiest way to identify effective keywords is to brainstorm main points of your topic and then synonyms for those main points

    Research Topic:

    Adverse effects of obesity on anesthetized patients

    Potential Keywords:

    anesthesia, obesity, overweight, surgery, complications (or any variation/synonym of these words)

Database Search Tips

Searching library databases is bit different from searching Google. Try using the following search techniques to retreive more relevant information.



Returns articles that contain BOTH terms

Example: Hospital acquired infection AND handwashing


Returns articles that contain EITHER word.

Example: hospital acquired infection OR cross infection

Quotation Marks Use quotation marks around phrases to find an exact phrase
Example: "tumor marker"
Truncation (*)

Add an asterisk (*) to the root of a word to find all forms of the word
Example: Genetic* retrieves genetic, genetics, genetically, geneticist, etc.


Getting Journal Articles

The Brandel Library can often provide a link directly to the PDF of the article you need. After searching a library database, links with the phrase "Full Text" should all resolve to the PDF of the article.

Some of the time, however, the library won't have access to the full text of the article. In those cases, you will need to use the "Request via WorldShare Interlibrary Loan" link to request the article. The WorldShare Interlibrary Loan service is free to students and most articles arrive within 4 days.

Print, Email, Save and Cite!

Most databases have options to email, save, and print articles. There is also an option to CITE the article in APA format. Remember to double check your citations, databases often make formatting errors.