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OTD 714 - Introduction to Scholarship and Research

Course description:  This course starts the development of the "practice scholar" and will focus on building skills by gaining an understanding of research in health care, utilizing logical and critical thinking skills to navigate research data, asking evidence-based questions, applying theory to research, and performing literature searches.  Additionally, students will gain knowledge about research design, quantitative and qualitative methods, data collection and analysis, and professional scholarly writing.  Students will ask a clinical research question, design quantitative and qualitative data collection tools, collect data, analyze with theory, and write up findings.

Searching Tips for a Literature Review


REVIEW – During Orientation, I very quickly gave an overview of our library website and some searching tips, but now let’s take the time to practice some of these searches and different ways to bring your articles to the top of the list and find the best evidence in the shortest amount of time.  Then, I’ll talk about citing your sources in APA format, and show you how RefWorks can help you organize your work.

To search for information that’s not free on the Internet, 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. If you're on campus you will not have to sign in to prove you are a WCU student, however, when you are 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? – I don’t know; you make 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 or view the full text of an article or ebook.

Databases are designed to work, so even if you type words into any 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 the various search features – such as changing limits and sort order – you can narrow them down instead of scrolling through a lot of articles you don’t want.

HOW TO SEARCH / WHERE TO SEARCH -- So, every time you search for information you have to decide two things: what words will you use, and which collection of articles, books, citations, etc. will you search?

What search words? Always take notes on a sheet of paper, so you know which words worked, and which ones didn’t work.

Start planning your topic using PICO:

            Patient,  Intervention,  Comparison,  Outcome, Time

            Back Pain, Aged,  Acupuncture,  Yoga,  Reduction of pain, Fast or Long-lasting

The 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 the subject of your paper, choose one database at a time.

Databases have different collections of articles and different ways to search.

EBSCO Choose CINAHL, MEDLINE, SportDiscus. Later, choose ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health, PubMed. Choose Academic Search only for non-medical subjects.

Then Advanced Search – Each database has different tools that only work with their articles

When you search more than one database at once, you search more articles, but can only use search tools/choices that all have in common. If you add a limit, it might add a lot of articles from a collection that doesn’t have that limit.

Demonstration: Select a few journal issues from medical journals, then add a lot of issues of popular journals. Show that you have to sort through the pile to get to the carefully selected issues.

Choose Academic Search, MEDLINE and CINAHL; they have some search tools in common, some are unique to each one. CINAHL can limit to clinical trials or systematic reviews. MEDLINE can limit to clinical trials by Phase I-IV and systematic reviews. Academic Search has no medical limits.

Add only one limit at a time, see how it changes the results, then undo the limit and try another.

Choose CINAHL only

Acupuncture AND yoga AND back pain

ALWAYS click “Full Text” and “Academic / Peer-reviewed Articles”.

Choose one article; highlight the full text, the abstract, the subjects, the title.

Change dropdown of fields searched from blank (full description) to full text, Abstract, Subject or Title

Too many results? Use a more specific subject, or add more words, limit by date, article type.

After seeing how much research has been done in the field, limit to the last 5 years, or 10 years, or 1-2 years.

Look at the list of Subjects (Major subjects, Minor subjects) and write down the subjects and keywords you have tried, and which ones worked the best

Back pain à Low back pain -> “Low back pain”

In Advanced Search look at the other choices of checkboxes and scrolling boxes.

Too few results? Take away words (no small words). Start broad and then narrow down. Are you using the right words? Browse subject headings and perform a subject search. Look at the list of Subjects within the articles that you like.

Most databases assume you want articles that contain all of the words you type; if you find the results only have one of the words, type AND between the words. If it doesn't matter which of the two interventions are used, type OR between the words.

Are you scrolling through too many articles that are not on target, or a different meaning of the word? Put NOT in front of a word that appears only in the articles you don’t want.  Or Browse the subject headings, and add a broad subject search to your keywords.

Choose ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health

Repeat Advanced Search. Look at the limits available.

ab((yoga AND acupuncture) AND "low back pain") = 26 results

Choose PubMed

Repeat Advanced Search. Look at the limits available.


See the Interlibrary Loan Research Guide, or email the citation & link to the Librarian.


Want an even faster way to get basic, updated facts about a medical condition or drug?

(Etiology, Treatments, Evidence-based care, citations and links to journal articles & reports)


  • Rehabilitation Reference Center
  • Nursing Reference Center
  • Dynamed
  • Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database


Most databases and word processors provide automatic citation assistance.

LibGuides à APA Help à In-Text Citation Help, Reference Citations

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


(Choose Legacy RefWorks only if you used the older version of RefWorks before and want to continue.)

Click “Sign up”

Fill in WCU email address (OR personal email address if on campus)

Go to your email - Click the 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 35 minutes of YouTube tutorials on the “New RefWorks” channel -- “New RefWorks” or “RefWorks 3” was released in 2017, so don’t watch videos before 2017.

Getting articles in and out are across the top; organizing articles are down the left side.

Adding references – there are several ways

  1. Click “+” – start typing the title, it suggests matching articles – 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 – click Save - export to RefWorks – download PDF full text – drag onto right window – (don’t drag to the large circle in the center)
  4. Search ProQuest – click Save - export to RefWorks – download PDF – change file name to author/date – save on desktop – drag onto right window

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

If there is no DOI, go to, and copy/paste the title; read the description carefully before copying the doi:

Adding Folders and Subfolders – put each article in one or more folders or subfolders for each of your assignments. If you need to keep full-text searching and bibliographies totally separate, create a new Project by clicking the + at the top.

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

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

Make a bibliography – change setting to “APA 7th ed., Sentence Casing” - compare the citations in the bibliography; check form of author name, proper noun capitalization, doi ( or database link

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

For an Annotated Bibliography:  Delete the Abstract and write your own annotation; make a bibliography and change setting to “APA 7th - Sentence Casing, DOI: http://, Annotated”

RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) – for students that use MS Word for Office 365 provided by WCU, Mac Office 2016, Word 2016 or later for Mac, Windows, iPad. - Find it in Microsoft Word Store (open Word, under Insert menu > Get Add-Ins > choose "Admin Managed" instead of "Store" > download & install RefWorld Citation Manager > login with your RefWorks account.

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


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