Health: Best Evidence Policy and Practice Health

Best Evidence Policy and Practice Health: Assessment 2

This workshop will get you started finding resources and writing Assessment 2: Self-directed investigation into consumer engagement strategies. There are several choices for this assignment. Although several options are listed, the intention is that this assignment will be used as an opportunity to explore issues or conduct work that is useful for yourself and/or your role. The only requirements are that it relates to at least some component of coursework, follows a basic essay format, and meets academic standards for writing and referencing.

Before you start

Use the PICO or PIO framework to break down your concepts into more precise groups by identifying your Population of Interest; Intervention; Comparison; and Outcomes. If you have not specified a Comparison, just leave it out – this is a PIO framework.

For our example question: For adults with chronic pain, is cannabis as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in reducing pain?

P (Population)


chronic pain

I (Intervention) cannabis
C (Comparison) non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
O (Outcomes)

reduced pain

Use the PICO worksheet below to get started with your question. If you are using another framework, adapt it. 

To search effectively in the Library Catalogue, databases, and the Internet, first prepare a strategy to give you the best chance to get the most relevant results.  

If you break the question down into several parts or concepts it will be easier to define. Your topic and its concepts form the basis for the keywords (important words) that you will use to search for information.

An example topic: Do older adults who receive long term care in their communities do better than those in nursing homes?

1.   Break the topic into concepts (or parts) and choose the important keywords (or topic words) from each concept. You would not usually write the whole assignment into the search box. For today, we are going to use a PICO framework to assist with constructing a search strategy:

  • P: older adults
  • I: independent living
  • C: nursing homes
  • O: quality of life

2.   Think of alternative words or spellings for each concept

  • P: older adults OR elderly
  • I: independent living OR aging in home-based living
  • C: nursing homes OR aged care facility
  • O: quality of life OR QOL

3.   Use truncation, wildcards and phrases in databases to automatically find different endings and spellings of words  eg: diabet* finds diabetes, diabetic, diabetics

4.    Combine concepts using the connectors AND, OR.

"older adults" OR elderly


"aging in place" OR "independent living" OR "home-based living"


"geriatric long-term care facilities" OR "old age* home*" OR "nursing home*" OR "aged care"


"quality of life" OR QOL OR lifestyle* OR "life style*"

You do not need to search for all terms in one go; try the first 2 or 3 ideas and see how many results you get; then use narrow or broader terms as appropriate.

The search strategy you develop can be used in any database, but you may need to tweak it to fit a specific database. 

Watch the below video to help you with developing a search strategy.

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Referencing reminders

Adapted from 'Lines, Background, Abstract, Light, Irrlichter, About' by Geralt. Licensed under CCO 1.0

Academic writing is based on wide reading of academic sources and you MUST acknowledge the writings and ideas of other people by using a referencing system.

The referencing in your assignment shows two things:

§  the range of ideas and approaches to a topic that you have found and thought about

§  your acknowledgement of where these ideas came from.

Three main rules

 1. Each reference must be shown in the text of your assignment each time it is used (the in-text reference)

 2. Each reference must be listed once in the reference list at the end of the assignment. This listing has full details so that your reader can find the reference. 

 3. References must be included every time you use someone else’s ideas or information. When you:

  • paraphrase (express someone else's idea in your own words)
  • summarise (express someone else's idea in a reduced form in your own words
  • quote (express someone else's idea in their exact words) or
  • copy (reproduce a diagram, graph or table from someone else's work).

Harvard UniSA referencing resources and guides

Use the Harvard UniSA referencing system as explained in the UniSA resources. See:

Finding information

Fast facts about Library databases:

  • databases can have a general or subject-specific focus
  • they may index the details about journal articles, reports and news stories
  • many databases provide the full text of the article
  • most databases can be accessed 24/7 on and off campus. Off campus you will need to log on using your UniSA username and password

The Library has a wide range of health-related databases, but start with Medline or Emcare (via Ovid) and try a multidisciplinary database such as Scopus.


Here’s an example of a search in Medline using our example question. Untick the 'map to subject heading' box as we just want to do a keyword search.

A useful feature of this database is to use truncation or wildcards to automatically find different endings and spellings of words.

Medline search

Refining the results

A useful option at the results list is to choose Additional Limits to show only English Language, studies on Humans and to limit to a Publication Date range, eg 2010–current.

Image of Additional Limits in Medline


Results list

Below is an example of some search results. Tick the boxes next to the articles you are interested in to Print, Email, and Export your results.

Image of Medline results list


Finding full text

  • Use the yellow FindIt button to find the full text
  • This will automatically search the Library Catalogue for your reference, and may provide some access options, eg Read this article, or Browse this journal.
  • For more information, read the Find a full text article using Find it guide.

Watch the following video on how to apply your search in the database Scopus.

Articles from peer reviewed journals are of high quality and can be used to support the argument that you are presenting. Articles in peer reviewed journals must go through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published. The term refereed is also used.

The terms scholarly and academic are also sometimes used to indicate quality journals.

Watch the Scholarly sources explained video – it takes under 3 minutes and features an academic from the School of Health Sciences.

View the guide How to find peer reviewed articles for more information.

Watch the below video 'Peer Review in 3 minutes' by NCSU Libraries. Published under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.

SAGE Research Methods

SAGE Research Methods supports research at all levels by providing material to guide users through every step of the research process.

It contains more than 1000 books, reference works, journal articles, and instructional videos by world-leading academics from across the social sciences, including the largest collection of qualitative methods books available online from any scholarly publisher.

The collection also provides more than 500 case studies, showing the challenges and successes of doing research, written by the researchers themselves. They explain why the researchers chose the methods they did, how they overcame problems in their research and what they might have done differently with hindsight: the realities of research that are missing from journal articles and textbooks.

Cases are peer reviewed and come with pedagogical tools including learning objectives and discussions questions.

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