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Physical Therapy (DPT)

Library Presentation for DPT Year 1 Students

PT 716 - Critical Inquiry I: Research Methods and Biostatistics

[Course description:  This course introduces the student to biostatistics, and will cover such topics as descriptive statistics, probability distributions (normal & binomial), sampling distributions, interval estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, and one and two-sample t-tests.]

Library presentation, Part 1: Searching for Information


How to login to WCU databases

If you’re on campus, go to, under the Current Students tab click on Library, to get to the library’s home page that lists all of the library’s services, or there are links to the WCU Library in the Account menu of Canvas, or in the left sidebar within your Canvas courses. If you’re off campus, click My Library Account to sign in with your Library ID -- What’s your Library ID? – it’s the start of your West Coast email address, and a Password – What’s your Password? -- you made it up by clicking the Set/Reset Password link. If you forget to sign in right away, you’ll be prompted to sign in when you start any of the databases.

What is your question? + Where to search + How to search

The search software for databases and the web are "designed to work"; you type in some words and you almost always get some articles. It’s like any other household invention. But sometimes you don’t get any useful articles, or no articles at all, or articles that have your words but just aren’t what you had in mind. Most databases take you very literally, so … “If the computer can’t do the thinking for you, then you have to do the thinking for the computer.”

Your classes emphasize the importance of using evidence-based medicine, and citing the evidence that is found in peer-reviewed journal article. And remember that if you find an article with a quote or data that you might cite in your report, always download a copy of the article to your computer right away for safe keeping, since online resources and Internet addresses might change or disappear without notice.


WCU Library catalog is your first broad search to get an overview of how much has been written about your subject, deciding on the scope of your topic, and getting ideas for words to use. After you have chosen your exact title or subject, choose one database at a time.

Basic WCU catalog search:  always check the checkboxes on the left side to limit to "full text", "peer-reviewed", past 5-10 years (depending on the rarity of the disease/amount of research).

After you finish most of your searching, uncheck "full text" to look for any recent, reliable discoveries or often-cited articles that you want to quote, and order these articles through interlibrary loan.

CGS A-Z Database List

            Acland's Anatomy

            Clinical summaries: Lexicomp (drugs), Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (alternative therapies), Rehabilitation Reference Center, Nursing Reference Center, Dynamed (for physicians)

            Article databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, SportDiscus, PubMed, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health, Academic Search Complete (for non-medical topics).



Databases are designed to work, so even if you type words into the search box like Google Scholar, you will get a few articles most of the time. You might think there aren’t any more, and the articles you got are “good enough”. Then you scroll through the list, maybe one screen or two, and trust that the search engine read your mind and put the best articles at the top of the list. But if you use the right words in the right format; surprise; you can get a lot more articles. If you use search tools in the library databases that Google Scholar doesn't have, you can narrow them down instead of scrolling through a lot of articles you don’t want.


What search words? Start planning your topic by writing words in columns of a PICO table:  Patient,  Intervention,  Comparison,  Outcome, (Time).

            Example:  Back Pain,  Acupuncture,  Yoga,  Fast/Long-lasting pain relief

            Write down more synonyms for each term as you find them in subjects of articles

Boolean words (AND, OR, NOT)

            When you want info for comparing which is better, “acupuncture” or “yoga”, and you want articles that have both words, use AND between them: acupuncture AND yoga.

            If either of two synonyms or choices are okay, use OR and parentheses: (child OR children)

            To avoid scrolling through a lot of articles that you aren't interested in, place NOT before the word you don't want: (NOT children)           


            For diseases that are more than one word, add quotation marks to search for the phrase as one word: "back pain"

Truncation (*)

            Most databases search for your words literally. Replace the suffix of the word with an asterisk to search for all words that begin with those letters: child* for (child OR children) .

            For differences in spelling within a word, replace one letter with a question mark: wom?n for (woman OR women)licen?e for (licence OR license)

MEDLINE search

Example:  In Advanced Search, type  “back pain”, “low back pain”, "acupuncture", "yoga"

            Show the effect of using more & fewer words, quotation marks, asterisk, question mark, parentheses.

            Show the parts of a typical article: title, abstract, subjects, main subjects, full text.

            Search: without using dropdown list to the right of the search boxes.

            Search in Subject, in Main subject, in Abstract, in Title, for fewer articles.

            Search in Text for more articles.

            Limits (Full text, Academic), checkboxes, scroll boxes (clinical trial, systematic review)

            Browse subject hierarchy: MeSH 2023 (search for “elderly”, instead use: aged)

                        “Explode” checkbox to include all subheadings

            * Download a few full-text articles to the desktop to import into RefWorks


If you have exact title of a real article:  search Google Scholar + search WCU Library catalog

            Google Scholar is also useful to find articles that cited it, and that the article cites.

If still not found, it might be mistyped.  “A-Z Journal Search” to Browse alphabetical list of Journals by volume/year, issue, page number


Review the procedure; a interlibrary loan form is in the Research Guides, or email a link to the citation (where you found it) to and


Library presentation, Part 2: APA Format & RefWorks


Format of paper; format of inline citations; references. See the APA Help (7th ed.) research guide.

The 7th edition is a little different than the 6th edition, published in 2020.


Most databases and word processors provide automatic citation assistance.

Automatic citation is mostly okay, except for the capitalization of the article title (as you would write an ordinary English sentence): First word of article title; First word of article subtitle; Proper nouns. Also watch for consistency in the format of authors' names.

Reference citation order:  "Who. When. What. Where. How " (I typed a period instead of question mark after each word to remind you that each part ends with a period, except the How.)

Is the DOI missing? Type entire title & first author’s surname in If there is no DOI, then leave it off and cite it like a printed source.  Read the date and description carefully before copying the doi, since some items have the same title.


Listed on the A-Z Database List

How many of you have used citation management software such as RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley ?

Sign up for an account using your email address.

Choose "Legacy RefWorks" (versions 1 or 2) only if you used it before and want to continue.

Click “Sign up”

You can register with either your WCU email address OR personal email address if you are on campus when registering.

Go to your email - Click link in your email

We have an institutional account – 10 GB of document storage – Unlimited sharing inside & outside the institution – email tech support, training.

There are lots of YouTube tutorials on “New RefWorks” channel -- “New RefWorks” or “RefWorks 3” was released in 2017, so don’t watch videos before 2017.

Adding references – there are several ways

  1. Click “+” – start typing the title, it suggests matching articles from ProQuest databases – load full text – RefWorks indexes the full text and allows searching
  2. Searching in the menu only searches Library of Congress book citations (no full text) and PubMed (only free full text)
  3. Search EBSCO databases – click Save - export to RefWorks – download PDF full text – drag the file onto right window – (don’t drag to the large circle in the center)
  4. Search ProQuest databases – click Save - export to RefWorks – download PDF – change file name to author/date – save on desktop – drag the file onto right window

Full text upload may time-out, so they recommend files under 20 MB

Articles have tags – automatically added from subject headings – you can add more.

If you are creating a Annotated Bibliography, replace the Abstract with your review.

Adding Folders and Subfolders – put each article in one or more folders or subfolders for your projects

Change to Table View (lower right corner dropdown) to make references from Systematic Reviews easier to scan and compare.

Choose citation style (APA 7th with Title Casing). Creates a References page automatically.

Compare the citations in your bibliography for consistency; check the form of author name; capitalize any proper nouns

It saves you time editing your References list because it applies standard punctuation, and then you can compare the capitalization styles; if they are inconsistent, look up the correct style in the APA handbook or the APA Style website and correct them all with a new style or individually.

Download and install a plugin for MS Word or Google Drive. Insert inline citations as you type.

Write & Cite – for Word for Mac 2008 & 2011, Word for Windows 2007-2016. Go to RefWorks > : > Tools > Cite in MS Word; then Go to MS Word > new RefWorks tab in menu > login

Citation Manager – for Mac Office 2016, Word 2016 or later for Mac, Windows, iPad. - Find it in MS Store (open Word, under Insert menu > Store> type RefWorks

Remember to use Times 12 pt. font, proper margins, headers, etc. throughout your paper.


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