Nursing 282 - CSU, Chico

advertisement
Nursing 282
Donna Greenberg
Nursing Librarian
[email protected]
Choosing an Effective
Research Topic

It may sound strange, but the first step when doing research isn’t choosing
a topic. You aren’t going to say, “Okay, my topic is … surgery. Let’s start
searching!”

Rather, from an initial, and perhaps very general, research topic area,
you’re going to formulate a research question, or set of questions, that
you can then investigate further.

You’ll want to see what information is available to you, and then start
honing in on a manageable topic from there.

Thus, the first step is not to choose a topic, and then do research.
The first step is to research, more specifically, what your topic even is.
Example: Nursing Topic

When you get your assignment from your professor, the first
thing you’ll need to do is interpret it to figure out what you need
to do. What are its requirements? How can you research an
authentic interest from your paper prompt? Let’s suppose your
paper prompt is as follows:

The purpose of this assignment is to teach you to do research at the
college level. In this paper you will research recent research
findings (published within the last 5 years) relating to the elderly
and health care, and write an annotated bibliography using wellresearched sources as evidence. r research to improve student
services.
General idea
Interest
Topic
What about this topic interests
you?
What is your potential topic?
Elderly and hip fractures
Well … personal interest.
Thinking about the paper
requirements, maybe I could
think about … therapies for hip
replacement.
How on earth can I write about this
within the parameters of my
assignment?!
Tentative topic:
Therapies for elderly hip
replacement patients that are
effective.
There’s so many ways you could go here, depending on your interests. But you have enough
to go on to search the library for research on your topic. And your initial searches may
turn up something that interests you about this topic that you’d never even have initially thought of. That
happens all the time
FINDING
INFORMATION
Developing Keywords



Once you’ve gone through the process of choosing an effective
research topic, the next thing you’ll need to do is develop some
keywords.
Keyword is the term researchers use for the search terms you need
to develop – based on your initial research topic choice – in order
to search the library catalog and databases well.
If you develop good keywords, you’ll be able to strategically
search library resources for materials on your topic. This will make
doing research much easier.
Example 1: Nursing Topic
Tentative topic:
What are the effective therapies for elderly patients who have
had hip replacement surgery?
OR write it as a title
Effective therapies for elderly hip replacement patients
Developing Keywords: Step 1

How would you get started searching
for information? This will help you
develop effective keywords you can use
to search the library for information.
Summarize the topic you would like to write about in 1-2 sentences:
I would like to see what effective therapies there are for elderly patients
who have had hip replacement surgery?
Developing Keywords: Step 2
The next step is to identify the key concepts from
your initial research interest.
IDENTIFY THE KEY CONCEPTS IN THE SENTENCE YOU WROTE ABOVE (YOU MAY HAVE 1, 2, OR EVEN 3
KEY CONCEPTS DEPENDING ON YOUR TOPIC). TIP : THE SHORTER THE BETTER-ONE WORD WILL
OFTEN DO THE TRICK.
Therapy -- Elderly -- Hip Replacement Surgery
Plus a date limit
Developing Keywords: Step 3

This will allow you to separate out the main concepts you are
working with. You can then figure out synonyms you might use for
those topics. They will be useful if for some reason your initial
terms don’t work out. Also, once you start searching, you can
write in the scientific terms scholars use for your keywords.
Therapy
Elderly
Hip Replacement Surgery
Exercise
Aged
Hip Replacement
Physical Therapy
Old
Broken Hip
Total Hip Replacement
Now you’re well prepared to begin to
search our databases. Even just a simple
search of Discovery – our main library
search box or CINAHL our main nursing
database – with
“therapy elderly hip replacement surgery”
as our keyword:
turns up some pretty useful results.
Search Results



These relevant results will help you get started
with your research.
If you click on an article title, you can browse
the abstract – or basic summary of the article
– to see if it’s relevant to you. There’s no need
to read an entire article just to see if it might
work for your purposes.
Another good trick is to click on the article title
and see what other keywords and subject
headings are given. This can help you conduct
further, and even more effective, searches.
Searching is a Process


One of the most important things to remember
about searching for information is that it is a
multi-step process. Even if you find a lot of great
articles with your first search – which may be
rare – the more searches you conduct, the better
your information, and the more informed you’ll
tend to be.
Play with different searches based on your
keywords and synonyms. This will produce even
more relevant results.
Download
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards