Answered By: Elyse Wolf
Last Updated: Apr 18, 2019     Views: 2

Before you begin searching, please note that the Shapiro Library has Evidence-Based Nursing Care Guidelines by Ackley, Ladwig, Swan and Tucker in our collection as an eBook. The NUR 507 research guide has a direct link to the section that discusses these different levels. Reading this section will help you to better understand the different levels and you’ll be able to more easily identify the level of evidence for the articles you find.

CINAHL Complete - Advanced Search

CINAHL Complete, one of our best nursing databases, does not have a way to limit by level of evidence, but there is an advanced search (look for the link “advanced search” below the search box) where you can limit your results by publication type. The publication type field is located over on the right side of the advanced search and some of the options include: meta analysis, systematic review, randomized controlled trial, and meta synthesis.  Not all the levels have an appropriate selection in that publication type field, though.  Another option would be to use the study types as keywords in your search.

Keyword Search

If your topic is nurse-patient ratio, you can add the type of study as a search term using the Boolean connector AND.  For example, for level I, you can add the term meta-analysis to your search like this:

  • nurse-patient ratio AND meta-analysis
  • For level II, you can run a search like this: nurse-patient ratio AND randomized controlled trial
  • For level III, you can try:  nurse-patient ratio AND controlled trial NOT random*
  • For level IV, you might try: nurse-patient ratio AND cohort
  • For level V, try: nurse-patient ratio AND meta-synthesis

Once you get back your results, you will need to carefully look at the article details to determine if that article will meet the criteria for that level of evidence. 

Other Databases

In addition to searching CINAHL, you might also want to try searching in some of our other nursing databases, especially Nursing Journals at OVID, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Collection Plus, which includes the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Please give these suggestions a try and contact a librarian for additional assistance.


Content authored by: GS

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