Nursing: Create a search plan

Step-by-step guidance

Planning how you are going to approach your search is key to searching successfully.

Here are some key steps using the example question: How does type 2 diabetes effect the endocrine system?

  1. Define any terms you are unsure of. Try a dictionary, encyclopedia, or handbook.
  2. Identify main concepts in your question. These will form the foundation of your search.
    • Concept 1: type 2 diabetes
    • Concept 2: endocrine system
  3. Identify any synonyms or similar keywords for each main concept.
    • Concept 1: type 2 diabetes, type 2 diabetic, type II diabetes...
    • Concept 2: endocrine system, endocrine glands
  4. Consider any:
    • word plurals (nurse vs nurses),
    • different word forms (diabetic vs diabetes),
    • different word spellings (celiac vs coeliac),
    • key acronyms (COPD vs Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease), and
    • hyphenated words (gluten-intolerance vs gluten intolerance).

The following video also shows you have to identify main concepts in your question and connect them to form a search. [Watch low quality version of video]

Define terms

ELearning image [Source: Dollar photo club,]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:

  • your recommended readings (ereadings)
  • course textbooks or introductory books
  • discipline specific reference material such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or handbooks
  • recommended journals and databases
  • reliable websites

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