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Nursing: Advanced Strategies

Refine your Results

Refine and Limit Your Results Further-

Search results are seldom perfect-it often takes multiple attempts to really get at what you are interested in.

After your first scan you'll start to notice some issues with your results-is there too many, too few, is this really what I want?.  The truth is most academic reach requires series of steps to get closer to the articles that meet your interests. 

Don't worry! Once you know the tricks it's pretty fast:

  1. Subject Thesaurus Term or Subject Options
    Some articles on your result list will be relevant and some won't. The best way to solve this problem is to us the Subject Thesaurus Term or Subject options. Click on the small arrow to the right of each to open them up and see a brief list of subjects. You can see all by selecting Show More. Scan through both tto see where the closet subject to your topic is listed and select it. Your search should have fewer articles but they should be more relevant so you don;t have to hunt for them. 
  2. Population-Limit by age, gender, condition
  3. Use the Date Newest Relevance pull down menu
    You can use Relevance (how closely it matches your search) pull down menu above your result list (see by watch, below) to re-sort your result list by author, source (periodical or other resource in which the article was published) or date. Depending on your topic, sorting by relevance combined with the date limit can really save you some time in your search. 

Those are the top limits to try, but the others available may also be useful at times. You can apply as many limits as you want to any search. Occasionally this will result in no articles. In that case try deselecting some of the limits until you retrieve results. It may be that for some reason there are no full text articles on your topic. Or, you may want to re-think the terms you entered in the search box. Try using different terms to describe your topic. See search techniques that can be used in any database.

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CINAHL-Subject Headings

Save Time!

Save Time with Limits

Narrowing down your results can save you time. These options are available from the left hand column of the result page (look for the watch in the results image in the Save Time on Result List box):

  • Source types
    Use when you want just academic journal articles or one of the other source types.
  • Publication
    Use to narrow down to a specific journal retrieved by your search.
  • Subject: Major Heading
    Use to narrow down to a subject retrieved by your search; selecting an appropriate subject one can get you closer to what you really want for your paper and one of the best time savers.
  • Age
    Use to narrow down to a specific age range retrieved by your search.
  • Gender
    Use to narrow down to a specific gender retrieved by your search.


Scholarly Journals

TipYou probably won't have to use this option for all of your research projects, but if your instructor requires that you use academic, scholarly or peer reviewed journals, this is the easiest way to get them:

  1. Perform a search.
  2. Select Search Options from the Limit your results column, Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box.
  3. All your results will now be from scholarly/peer reviewed journals.