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Know the definition of a primary source. In nursing, the focus of a primary source is on original research from one research study. A primary source in nursing is an article written by the researcher(s) who performed the research experiment and includes original research data. Secondary sources are ones that summarize or compare primary research articles in a particular area, such as a Systematic Review. A primary research article contains the following:
Tip: Go to Key Components of a Research Article for a visual example and more information.
Search in a database, such as Medline EBSCO or CINAHL Complete. Use subject headings or keywords in search boxes for your topic. Select "Advanced Search" and limit to last five years; limit to "Publication Type", then select "Clinical Trial." A Clinical Trial is one type of common research study.
Next, evaluate to determine if the article is a primary research article by reading the abstract. If there is not an abstract, read the article. For help on looking for the full text, see box below "Finding the Full Text."
Tip: Go to the Glossary page for definitions of primary source, secondary source, Systematic Review, and different research studies.
The purpose of this Research Guide is to support you in your NUR 390W course learning outcome to utilize electronic resources to efficiently and effectively search, locate and evaluate desired research-based evidence.
Most articles identified in the databases will have an abstract and then, if available, a link to the full text.
You can request any article that we do not have the full text to regardless of where you got the information from through our Request Materials service!
To find a practicing guideline (which can provide possible intervention guidelines), an excellent place to start is:
National Guideline Clearinghouse - A public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
Step One: Ask a Question using PICO format - Ask a clinical question.
Step Three: Appraise Evidence - Critically appraise evidence, assess study quality, etc.
Step Four: Apply Evidence - Integrate evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences/values to apply in practice.
These are the first four steps of Evidence-Based Practice according to Melnyk, B. M., Fineout-Overholt, E., Stillwell, S. B., & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence-based practice: Step by step: The seven steps of evidence-based practice. The American Journal of Nursing, 110(1), 51-53.