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Clinical Nursing Skills

Key resources for nurses working in the clinical setting.

Search Tips

The search terms you choose will determine the quality of your results.

A more general search term such as "vertebrae" will give you many results, but many of them might not be relevant to you.

A more specific search term such as "spinal stenosis" will give you fewer, more relevant results. However, you might also miss out on some relevant results if they do not contain the specific term you chose.

In general, start out with more specific terms and then widen your search with more general terms if you're not finding what you're looking for.

Assistant Director of Library Services

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Cynthia Hunt
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One Riverside Drive | East Hartford, CT 06118

Choose a database for your search

Before you can start searching for the resources you need, you need to decide where to perform your search! Here are some quick tips to help you select a library database.

Explore the Research Databases subject pages.
You will notice that our LibGuides page offers links for several major topic areas. Clicking through to your topic area is a great way to start. Remember to consider any relevant subject page, especially if your topic is cross-disciplinary. Subject pages will also suggest common multidisciplinary databases. Also remember to read the descriptions of the contents of each database.

Consider searching multiple databases with SingleSearch...
...but remember that there are pros and cons to multi-database searches. While you can search more broadly, you will lose some ability to refine your search and may get more results not relevant to your topic. 

Are you looking for a particular journal or book?
Try the Book or Journal search tools available

Basic Boolean searching

You can use Boolean operators to build complex search strings. The three Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT; each has a specific function in a search string.

  • AND: Combining terms with AND means that both terms must appear in the search results. AND always narrows your search, giving you fewer results. Using AND with too many terms can narrow your results down to zero.
  • OR: Combining terms with OR means that either term can appear in the search results and they do not have to appear together. OR will always broaden your search, giving you more results. It's best to use OR with synonyms.
  • NOT: Any article that matches term that comes after NOT will be excluded from the search results. This narrows your search results, but differently than narrowing with AND. Be careful with the terms used after NOT so that you do not accidentally narrow your search too much.

You can combine Boolean operators in to complex search strings such as:
(teens OR adolescents) AND (colleges OR universities) NOT (vocational)