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Occupational Therapy

Searching Tips for a Literature Review


Accessing the WCU Library Website

To search for scholarly information that WCU Library pays for, go to your course in Canvas.  Next, use the navigation list to the left and select WCU Library.  Then open the Library Website in a new tab.

How to Search and Where to Search

Start with selecting your keywords/search terms. 

You can identify some search terms to use when you start planning your topic using P.I.C.O., which stands for Patient,  Intervention,  Comparison,  Outcome, and Time is sometimes included.

You can also use the Library Catalog for broad searches to get an overview of how much has been written about your subject, to gauge the scope of your topic, and to get ideas for search terms to use.

Use WCU Library databases to search for articles or information to use in your assignments.  Consider using some of these databases to start your research: Academic Search Complete, Medline, CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health, PubMed, Nursing Reference Center, Dynamed

Go to the A-Z Database List for a complete list of WCU Library databases with descriptions.

When available, remember to select the “Full Text” and “Peer Reviewed” limiters, typically to the left of search results.  Limit “Publication Date” or “Year” options to the last 5 years.

Do you have too many results? Select more specific search terms, add more search terms, or use additional limiters, such as selecting an article type.

Do you have too few results?  Use less search terms, use broader search terms, or locate subject terms in article records.

Boolean Operators

Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) between your keywords/search terms.  Boolean operators are easy to select in Advanced Search screens.  The default option is AND.  Using AND narrows a search to include results with both words before and after AND.  

Using OR will broaden the search by including results in which either term is mentioned.  NOT will exclude results mentioning the term after NOT.

Interlibrary Loan

If you cannot access full-text articles, consider requesting articles through Interlibrary Loan.  You can find more information on the Interlibrary Loan page

PART 2: APA Citation

APA Help Guide

Access our APA Help Guide to get started with APA citation and formatting.  Papers should have in-text citations as well as reference citations.

This Guide has an APA professional paper template available to download.

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