Medical Sonography: Plan your search

Break down your question

Before you embark on searching for information you should break down your research question into key concepts and plan your search. Watch this UniSA Library video for help.

Example question used in video: What factors in the obstetric ultrasound lead to patient satisfaction in pregnant women?

[Watch low quality version of video]

Some key steps using the example question: Do sonographers working in private practice have higher job satisfaction than sonographers working in public hospitals?

  1. Define any terms you are unsure of. Try a introductory book, dictionary, encyclopedia, or handbook.
     
  2. Identify main concepts in your question. These will form the foundation of your search.
    • Concept 1: sonographers
    • Concept 2: private practice
    • Concept 3: public hospitals
    • Concept 4: job satisfaction
       
  3. Identify any synonyms or similar keywords for each main concept. For example:
    • Concept 1: sonographer, ultrasonographer
    • Concept 4: job satisfaction, work satisfaction, employee satisfaction
       
  4. Consider any word plurals (hospital/s), different word forms (sonographer vs sonography), different word spellings (celiac vs coeliac), key acronyms (BMI vs Body Mass Index), and hyphenated words (non diagnostic vs non-diagnostic).

Short Library guides to help you search more effectively:

Example question in video: Does an improvement in drinking water quality reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti and Papua New Guinea?

[Watch low quality version of video]

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Clarify (define) terms

Before you search for information you may need to do some initial background reading to gain a general overview of your topic, or clarify terms you are unsure of.

Try consulting:

  • course textbooks or readings
  • introductory books
  • discipline specific dictionaries, encyclopedias, or handbooks
  • reliable websites

Remember the Library has a large collection of ebooks which you can access anytime and anywhere.

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Developing a research question

If you need to create a research question to answer see the following videos for help:

PICO

Evidence-Based Practice [CC0 Public Domain, Image source: Flickr https://flic.kr/p/bHwpwZ]

"Asking the right question is often the key to finding the research evidence needed to inform clinical practice. A carefully formulated question will increase the likelihood that a practitioner will find high quality evidence that can be incorporated into decision making about patient care." -- EBP Step 1: Formulating a question, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, viewed 7 Jan 2016.