You will need to keep track of your literature searches in order to accurately report your searching methods.
Here is a sample research log template. Using this template is optional; you're welcome to use any other strategy to keep track of your searches.
Tips for search-tracking success:
Search history: Databases often track your search history for you. Look for Search History or Recent Searches or similar terms. These will show the search terms, filters, and number of results from searches you did recently. Note: this information is only available during your searching session. It will disappear after you close the tab or are idle for too long.
Database names: EBSCO, EBSCOhost, and ProQuest are not specific databases. They are the companies that package and sell databases. It's confusing because these logos are very prominent on the database search pages. Look just above the search box in the database to remind yourself of the actual name of the specific database, like CINAHL Plus with Full Text or Nursing and Allied Health Database.
Check your assignment instructions. Some professors require primary research only. Some professors require *both* qualitative and quantitative, and some professors want only quantitative.
Primary research means that the authors conducted the studies they are writing about. They have firsthand information about the study. Avoid any studies described as systematic review or scoping review or meta-analysis for primary requirements--these are secondary research.
Quantitative vs qualitative: Quantitative studies have measurable, countable, and number-driven data. Look for studies that include a lot of raw numbers, charts, or graphs. Qualitative studies are more interpretive and description, with terms like perceptions or interview or focus group.
Remember the pyramid of evidence discussed in class (example from another school). Aim for the higher levels of the pyramid, like randomized controlled trials, without going all the way up to meta-analyses.
Statistics: You may want statistics to show the urgency of your chosen health topic. These statistics sources wouldn't be one of your primary quantitative research articles, but they can still provide great context. See Specialized Resources-->Community Health in this libguide for tips on gathering health statistics.
Practice guidelines and recommendations: These might help illustrate the standard of care for your chosen condition. These would not count as one of your primary quantitative research articles, but they are acceptable as additional sources. Examples include DynaMed and the Evidence-Based Care Sheets in the top bar of CINAHL.
Having trouble finding appropriate source? Help is here!