Start by thinking about the main ideas that are related to your topic. The PICO format (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) can help you think about these concepts.
Consider using synonyms of your keywords to help find even more information. For example, if you are looking for articles about the benefits of exercise for patients with heart disease, you might start with the keywords and synonyms below:
|Keyword||Synonym 1||Synonym 2|
|heart disease||cardiovascular disease||congestive heart failure|
Creating a grid like the one above can also help you enter your keywords when you're searching in the databases.
Put each distinct concept (heart disease, exercise) on a separate line with AND in between. This will give you results that mention both of these concepts, rather than just one or the other. Then add each set of synonyms to the same line and type the word "or" in between.
You can use an article for more than just content. Use words/phrases in the subject terms or abstract that you can use as search keywords; find instruments, tests or measures you want to use in your own research; see what else the author has written; check the references for your own literature review; see what other articles have cited this article since it was published.
To find qualitative and quantitative studies, try adding one of these words/phrases to your search terms. The word "qualitative" or "quantitative" will sometimes appear in the title, abstract, or subject terms, but not always. Look at the methods section of the article to determine what type of study design was used.
|Definition||Research that seeks to provide understanding of human experience, perceptions, motivations, intentions, and behaviors based on description and observation and utilizing a naturalistic interpretative approach to a subject and its contextual setting.||Research based on traditional scientific methods, which generates numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships.|
|What's Involved||Observations described in words||Observations measured in numbers|
|Starting Point||A situation the researcher can observe||A testable hypothesis|
|Goals||Participants are comfortable with the researcher. They are honest and forthcoming, so that the researcher can make robust observations.||Others can repeat the findings of the study. Variables are defined and correlations between them are studied.|
|Drawbacks||If the researcher is biased, or is expecting to find certain results, it can be difficult to make completely objective observations.||Researchers may be so careful about measurement methods that they do not make connections to a greater context.|
|Some Methods||Interview, Focused group, Observation, Ethnography, Grounded Theory||Survey, Randomized controlled trial, Clinical trial, Experimental Statistics|
When you're looking at search results in a database you're going to see a few different ways to get to the full article.
Use Google Scholar to access Simmons University library resources and other full-text options.
It can be a challenge to keep up with the current literature while you work on your capstone. Luckily, there are several tools that can alert you when new research is published on your topic.
Journal alerts send you an email when a new issue is available. If there are particular journals that are very relevant to your research, setting up an alert will allow you to scan the table of contents for new articles on your topic. Search alerts automatically run your saved database searches and send you an email when new results become available. You can also set up an RSS feed to consolidate your alerts, so you can keep them all in one place.
See the Journal Notifications guide for specific instructions.