Finding Sources of Evidence
In acquiring a background on a topic with the goal of developing an evidence-based practice, it is essential that you identify resources that are both accurate and scientific. How comfortable would you be defending a new practice if it was based on information from Wikipedia or something that you read in a random blog post that you found using Google? The time taken to ensure that you have located meaningful, credible information will provide confidence in initiating new practices. One characteristic of a credible and thorough research study is the care that is taken prior to the start of a project to determine what is currently known about a subject and to evaluate the quality of the information that is reviewed.
This week, you focus on finding meaningful, credible evidence on a particular research topic. You consider what types of sources have been previously vetted by experts in the field for the quality of the content. You also explore the different types of evidence that can be used, and you are introduced to search techniques for identifying evidence for EBP.
- Analyze the use of the hierarchy of evidence in the research process
- Apply search techniques to gather credible information from databases for use in evidence-based practice
Photo Credit: BSPC/Creatas Video/Getty Images
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Academic Guides: Keyword Searching: Finding Articles on Your Topic: Boolean. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2017, from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/library/keyword/boolean
Academic Guides: Keyword Searching: Finding Articles on Your Topic: Searching Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2017, from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/library/keyword/searching-basics
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
- Chapter 2, “Evidence-Based Nursing: Translating Research Evidence into Practice” (Review pages 14–31)
- Chapter 5, “Literature Reviews: Finding and Critiquing Evidence”
In this chapter, you focus on conducting a literature review. Topics include how to identify the relevant literature on a given topic and then how to critique the strengths and weaknesses of the literature that you have found. Finally, the chapter examines how to synthesize the research findings into a written literature review.
Houde, S. C. (2009). The systematic review of literature: A tool for evidence-based policy. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 35(9), 9–12.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article emphasizes the importance of systematic reviews of literature. The authors present an overview of resources that may assist in conducting systematic reviews.
Krainovich-Miller, B., Haber, J., Yost, J., & Jacobs, S. K. (2009). Evidence-based practice challenge: Teaching critical appraisal of systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines to graduate students. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(4), 186–195.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article reviews the features of the TREAD Evidence-Based Practice Model. In particular, the authors of this article stress how the model emphasizes the use of standardized critical appraisal tools and Level I evidence.
Robeson, P., Dobbins, M., DeCorby, K., & Tirilis, D. (2010). Facilitating access to pre-processed research evidence in public health. BMC Public Health, 10, 95.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article describes a hierarchy of pre-processed evidence and how it is adapted to the public health setting. The authors identify a range of resources with relevant public health content.
Walden Student Center for Success. (2012). Clinical Question Anatomy. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/content.php?pid=183871&sid=2950360
Davies, K. S. (2011). Formulating the evidence based practice question: A review of the frameworks. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 6(2), 75–80. Retrieved from https://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/viewFile/9741/8144
This article reviews the frameworks commonly used to assist in generating answerable research questions. The author recommends considering the individual elements of the frameworks as interchangeable (depending upon the situation), rather than trying to fit a situation to a specific framework.
Search/Browse Help – Boolean Operators and Nesting. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2017, from https://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/ui/en_US/htdocs/help/searchBoolean.html
Walden University Library. (2012). Levels of evidence. Retrieved from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=80240&p=523225
This guide provides a listing of evidence-based clinical resources, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses, critically appraised topics, background information and expert opinions, and unfiltered resources.
Walden University. (n.d.b.). Searching and retrieving materials in the research databases. Retrieved August 10, 2012, from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/foundationscoursedocs/SearchingRetrieving
This resource provides tips for searching in the Walden Library. It includes a guide to keyword searches, an explanation of Boolean searches, and tips on locating specific journals or articles.
Document: Course Project Overview (Word document)
Note: You will use this document to complete the Project throughout this course.
An important step in the EBP process is reviewing the current body of literature to better understand the subject or topic in which you are interested. By conducting a review of the literature, you are building foundational knowledge about the topic; later, you can use this background to build new insights. Developing a strong grasp of a topic can only be garnered by taking the time to thoroughly search for relevant information and resources.
For this Discussion, you will practice searching the literature to find evidence on a specific topic.
- Choose a simple search term(s) relating to a topic of your PICOT question.
- Review the information on the evidence hierarchy discussed in Chapter 2 of the course text, in the article, “Facilitating Access to Pre-Processed Research Evidence in Public Health,” and in the multimedia presentation “Hierarchy of Evidence Pyramid,” found in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Review the information on the Walden Library’s website, “Levels of evidence.” Take a few minutes to explore the different types of databases available for each level of evidence and focus on the meaning of filtered and non-filtered resources.
- Conduct a literature search in the Walden Library on your selected topic using the databases that you reviewed. Use at least one database for each of the three levels of filtered information and at least one unfiltered database. Record the number of hits that you find at each level of the hierarchy of evidence.
- Select one article from the results at each level of the hierarchy. Compare the articles based on the quality and depth of information. What would be the value of each resource if you were determining an evidence-based practice?
Write a summary of your search. Describe what topic you selected, the search term(s) that you used, and the number of results found at each level of the hierarchy. Compare the types of information found in the articles from different levels and the value of the information from each level. Highlight a useful tip that you could share with your colleagues about conducting an effective literature search.
Course Project: Introduction to Course Project
Evidence-based practice involves a great deal more than simply reading nursing periodicals on a regular basis. Nurses can take a more proactive approach to evidence-based practice by identifying authentic problems and concerns, and then using that to guide their inquiries into current research. In this way, nurses can connect the results of relevant research studies to their nursing practice.
For the Course Project, you identify and apply relevant research to a specific nursing topic or problem. You begin by formulating an answerable question that is relevant to nursing and evidence-based practice. In later weeks of this course, you continue the Course Project by conducting a literature review and then determining how the evidence from the literature can be applied to nursing practice.
Before you begin, review the Course Project Overview document located in this week’s Learning Resources.
Note: This Course Project will serve as the Portfolio Assignment for the course. In addition to submitting portions of this Project in Weeks 2 and 5, you will turn in all three deliverables in Week 10.
Course Project: Part 1—Identifying a Researchable Problem
One of the most challenging aspects of EBP is to actually identify the answerable question.
—Karen Sue Davies
Formulating a question that targets the goal of your research is a challenging but essential task. The question plays a crucial role in all other aspects of the research, including the determination of the research design and theoretical perspective to be applied, which data will be collected, and which tools will be used for analysis. It is therefore essential to take the time to ensure that the research question addresses what you actually want to study. Doing so will increase your likelihood of obtaining meaningful results.
In this first component of the Course Project, you formulate questions to address a particular nursing issue or problem. You use the PICOT model—patient/population, intervention/issue, comparison, and outcome—outlined in the Learning Resources to design your questions.
- Review the article, “Formulating the Evidence Based Practice Question: A Review of the Frameworks,” found in the Learning Resources for this week. Focus on the PICOT model for guiding the development of research questions.
- Review the section beginning on page 71 of the course text, titled, “Developing and Refining Research Problems” in the course text, which focuses on analyzing the feasibility of a research problem.
- Reflect on an issue or problem that you have noticed in your nursing practice. Consider the significance of this issue or problem.
- Generate at least five questions that relate to the issue which you have identified. Use the criteria in your course text to select one question that would be most appropriate in terms of significance, feasibility, and interest. Be prepared to explain your rationale.
- Formulate a preliminary PICO question—one that is answerable—based on your analysis. What are the PICO variables (patient/population, intervention/issue, comparison, and outcome) for this question?
- Using the PICOT variables that you determined for your question, develop a list of at least 10 keywords that could be used when conducting a literature search to investigate current research pertaining to the question.
Note: Not all of these variables may be appropriate to every question. Be sure to analyze which are and are not relevant to your specific question.
Write a 3- to 4-page paper that includes the following:
- A summary of your area of interest, an identification of the problem that you have selected, and an explanation of the significance of this problem for nursing practice
- The 5 questions you have generated and a description of how you analyzed them for feasibility
- Your preliminary PICOT question and a description of each PICOT variable relevant to your question
- At least 10 possible keywords that could be used when conducting a literature search for your PICOT question and a rationale for your selections
Submit your Project. It will also be a component of your Portfolio Assignment for this course, which is due by Day 7 of Week 10.
Davies, K. S. (2011). Formulating the evidence based practice question: A review of the frameworks. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 6(2), 75–80. Retrieved from