MSc Pre Reg Adult Nursing

NURS70011 R21–0841

Supporting materials


  • Group: c.300
  • Length: 50 minutes
  • Room: Lecture theatre
  • Discipline: Health — dissertation
  • Level: U/G Year 3

Learning outcomes

After engaging with this support, you will be able to:

  • Create and document a search
  • Search using advanced techniques
  • Replicate searches across different databases

Suggested online resources

Session content

Introduction: (Slides 1–2)

Searching is a key skill that contributes directly to the completion of any research project as well as any ongoing professional development. The workshop will cover a refresh of searching skills as well as an approach to how searches can be replicated across different subject resources to be comprehensive.

Further guidance on using specific database platforms is offered via the Searching Systematically Workshops which are available on the Specialist Library Support training pages or by arrangement with the School of Nursing who may release timetable space for this.

There may be few if any activities in this session — the students are encouraged to think and become familiar with some of the terminology before embarking on the follow-up Searching Systematically Workshops. The trainer will demonstrate how to locate core resources such as Library Search and the Subject databases especially if this is a session via Zoom

WHAT information are you looking for? — Considering search terms. (Slides 3–4)

Why are different search terms important?

Activity — ask the group to shout out words that will answer the question on slide 5;

“How do informal caregivers providing end-of- ask the care experience grief and loss?”

The trainer should use the evidence provided by the students to further emphasise why searching is important and lead into the following activity and the strategy of What, Where & How. (Slides 6–7)

Searching for sound evidence to inform practice using the strategy of What Where and How. Explain how What can cover what keywords can be used to activate the search and also what kind of information might be useful and relevant.

Slide 8 — Using the example given show the students how the question could be broken down by breaking the question into a series of three concepts that can be exploded to capture a list of terms that might represent those terms.

Slide 9–13 — Talk the students through how they combine the terms that they have listed for the topic into search strings using Boolean operators to combine concepts and alternative concepts to broaden and narrow search results. Using the example provides a way of demonstrating how to use truncation/wildcards. They will have a chance to practice this activity shortly.


Conduct a quick demonstration on Library Search;

screen shot of library search

Point out that the students can add items to their e-bookshelf

WHERE will you look for it?

Slide 14 — Remind the students where to locate links to subject related information sources using the Nursing Subject Guide which is embedded within the VLE. The guide will link to the databases that are relevant to them (Slide 9)

Activity — ask the students to think/shout out professions interested in the research title in slide 15

Show slide 16

A new angle — How many of the other subject databases (Slide 17) do you recognise?

Explain by showing the examples on slide 18 that some topics are best searched via non-traditional nursing databases

HOW will you search for the topic we looked at earlier?

Think back to this research question:

“How do informal caregivers providing end-of-life care experience grief and loss?”

How many professions can you think of who would be interested in this topic?

Activity/Instruction — (if Face-to-Face) Ask the students to do a quick search using their search string on ONE of the following databases CINAHL, PsycInfo and Web of Science — if on Zoom demonstrate ONE database for the group..

Slide 19 — Too many/few results? — This is a point where the teacher can point out specific elements of a database interface.

HOW will you document your searches: One of the things that is important is to do is keep notes on the search process and having a table like the one shown on Slide 16 is one approach to documenting searches that can facilitate replicating searches across databases. Searching should be consistent and the student should have a check list of core information that should be applied to each resource used (Slides 20–21)

Further help: Refer to My Learning Essentials and Specialist Library Support online resources that are available in the VLE and the Drop-in. (Slides 22–27)

Ask the SCONUL/RLUK question (Slide 28)

Internal ID: R21–0826 NURS31360 Yr 3 Nursing Dissertations 16 Nov 21

Written 15 July 2019, updated 25 October 2021

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