Strategy relevant databases

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“Detail an appropriate search strategy using relevant databases to identify an article on evidence based practice in the healthcare setting.”

During the course of this essay emphasis shall be placed on the processes, which helps to facilitate the task in conducting an appropriate search strategy, so as to obtain sound literature regarding evidence based practice (EBP) within a healthcare setting. Identification of various types of databases that are generally used during the search methodology will also be outlined, with recommendations of which databases are better suited for the subject matter under scrutiny. An explanation highlighting how to conduct a more advanced search for a particular piece of literature shall also be provided, by introducing certain specific keywords, synonyms and limitations, which should be utilized in conjunction with the search process whilst making use of the Boolean Operating System; this operating system will be spoken about in more depth in later chapters. A description based upon the ‘hierarchy of evidence' shall be made clear in order to clarify the accuracy, effectiveness and validity of the evidence found whilst researching. At the completion of the initial search, an article shall be selected to not only emphasize its association with evidence based practice but, to verify that it is a reputable and effective source of information, as previously mentioned.

What exactly is evidence based practice? This is a collection of the best evidence that has been critically appraised, which clinicians use whilst in practice, in order to offer and provide their patients with quality care (Melnyk & Overholt, 2005). In order to formulate an appropriate search strategy involving evidence based practice, it is fundamental that we build the main framework for the initial search to be processed. This must consist of the underlying question that will address and focus on the topic for that particular literature search; without this framework and a good workable strategy, the search process and retrieval of evidence may prove to be more than a complex task (Bossuyt et al., 2004).

Primarily, to conduct an appropriate search for high-quality material regarding evidence based practice, it would be far better to make use of the various types of electronic databases available, which stores reliable literature or evidence relating to the topic. The Online Dictionary (2009) defines a database to be a compilation of structured data, stored in a computer that is easily and readily accessible to those who require related literature of a focused topic. There are numerous electronic databases available to assist in answering focused clinical questions. Beecroft, Rees and Booth (2006, p.90) mentions that the central database for nursing and health care literature (CINAHL), is one such database which is designed to hold a vast amount of advanced literature. It supports nurses within the profession for utilizing information, gathering evidence to set standards within nursing, and research pointing towards developing policy. Another large electronic resource, developed and governed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), is the MEDLINE database; the database stock journals in the field of medical, nursing and health care. PubMed is an on-line version used to explore literature within Medline (Polit & Beck 2004). The Cochrane Database, again, has a huge compilation of articles covering health care issues; the database is split into four separate databases referred to as the Cochrane Library, created by Cochrane Collaboration (Mar, 2001, chap.3). For the purpose of obtaining an article based on (EBP), the PubMed/MEDLINE Database will be used for this particular search. PubMed/MEDLINE remains the database of choice simply because (a) it stocks in the region of eleven million citations pertaining to clinical and preclinical studies, a sheer volume, and (b) its availability regarding accessing a very wide range of medical journals (Bossuyt et al., 2004).

Using the correct keywords and phrases surrounding the topic area, whilst searching, is extremely important, so as to avoid receiving the wrong information, at worst, little or none at all. Finding ‘alternative' words or ‘synonyms' for example, ‘evidence based practice', could enhance the search, providing more information on the topic area. For example the synonym or related words for ‘evidence' may be: proof, verification, or facts. An example of related words for ‘base' would be: foundation, bottom or found. And thirdly, related words for ‘practice' would be: apply, or observe, and so on. Truncations such as * may also be used to multiply root words, whilst ? could be used for single characters (University of Edinburgh, n.d.). There are also other word terms which must be investigated thoroughly and applied correctly during the search process to avoid receiving the wrong information or retrieval of evidence. An example would be American terminologies and spellings, such as car/automobile or honor/honour or analyze/analyse (The University of Hull, n.d.)

The Boolean (logic) is an Operating System that will allow the researcher to combine specific terms used in the search process, especially if they require a particular piece of information or evidence most relevant to the topic area. There are various different operators (commands) which may be used to enhance or narrow a search result down, such as ‘AND' which will help to narrow down the results, ‘OR' which will include either of the keywords typed in the search to expand the results, or ‘NOT', which will be used to exclude certain words or information from retrievable results (Caroline, D. B. 2009).