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NURS 3150 Week 2 Discussion: Week 2 Discussion


For this week's discussion post, you are asked to perform a literature search on a clinical research question. In week 1 of your course, you identified a patient safety problem. This guide will teach you how to perform a basic literature search of the last five years of nursing and health literature on a patient safety problem. Specifically, this guide will go over:

  • accessing nursing databases
  • identifying and combining relevant search terms
  • limiting your searches to the last 5 years


For more background information on finding articles in the Library and picking appropriate keywords, please see our guides:

Video: Nursing and Health Library Research: Introduction (YouTube)

Recorded May 2021 (15 min 04 sec)

Access nursing resources

The Library offers a variety of resources geared specifically to nursing students. Here is how you can access them:

1. On the Library homepage, go to the Subject Resources box.

                Research by Subject

2. Click on Select a subject and choose: Nursing

3. Scroll down until you see a section called Nursing articles, journals & books and click on Nursing databases. Here you will find many of the nursing and health databases available in the Library.

4. To access a database, click on the title.

Note: If you haven't already logged in to the Library database, you will be prompted to log in with your myWalden Portal user name and password.

Identify & combine search terms

An important part of conducting an effective literature search is picking appropriate keywords or search terms. Without the right keywords, you may miss out on important research on your topic.


Here is an example of how to turn a research question into appropriate keywords:

Research question: What is the impact of health education on falls among the elderly?

Step one: Break apart your topic into the main parts. In this example, the main parts are:

  • Health Education
  • Falls
  • Elderly

Note: It's very difficult in the Library databases to search for the impact or effect of one thing on another. This is because the databases look for the exact words you enter in the search boxes, and it's possible to talk about the impact of health education on falls without using the word impact.

Step two: Think of synonyms for the main parts of your topic. In this example, some synonyms could be:

  • Patient Education
  • Accidental Falls
  • Aged

Step three: Combine your main topics with AND, and your synonyms with OR. In this example your search would look like this:

Health Education OR Patient Education


Falls OR Accidental Falls


Elderly OR Aged

To learn more about combining your search terms with AND and OR, please see our guide:


To learn more about turning your research topic into search terms, please see our tutorial:

Literature search

Here is a search that you can do in the CINAHL Plus with Full Text database to find articles from the last five years on a patient safety problem:

1. From the list of databases under Nursing databases, click on CINAHL Plus with Full Text.

Note: For more information on accessing the Nursing Research page, please see the access nursing resources instructions above.

2. If you have not already logged in to the Library databases, you will be prompted to log in with your myWalden Portal user name and password.

3. Once you are in the database, enter your search terms in the search boxes. For example, your search could look like this:

First search box:

Health Education OR Patient Education

Second search box:

Falls OR Accidental Falls

Third search box:

Elderly OR Aged

Here is what your search boxes should look like:


4. To limit your results to only the last five years, go further down on the page. Under Published Date enter the year range that you want.

In the first Year box, enter the year that was five years ago. For example:


Leave the second Year box empty and the search will default to the current year.

Note: You also don't have to fill out the months, they will default to January and the current month respectively.


5. Then click on the Search button to run your search.

6. That should give you a list of articles from the last five years on your topic.