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Graduate Nursing Resources

Getting Started

Managing your research project is a big task!  Here is a guide with some suggestions for keeping things organized and staying motivated!

Additionally, we have the laying the groundwork since day one, to help you succeed in your research. If you look at this guide's pages (the tabs on the left) you will see that they are laid out to help you work through your project - from researching, organizing, and synthesizing your research to selecting a research tool help measure the impact of your project.

See past students projects: Digital Commons @ SPU - most will require SPU login to download full project.

NUR 7312 - Some Tips as You Begin Your Literature Review

  • Seek out general information on your topic before jumping into the research articles. Books, encyclopedias, and review articles can give you a fuller picture of what is known about your topic.  It will introduce the main concepts, theories, keywords, authors, and journals.  This will give you hooks for searching the journal literature.
  • For some, there may be a wealth of information, but the fact that you cannot find much on your topic can also be good news.  This means that you will have something new to share with the world.  You will be using the existing literature and combining it in a novel way that will grow our understanding of your topic.
  • You may need to break your topic down int two (or more) separate concepts and search for literature on each. For example, if you are interested in doing a quality improvement program around nurses offering diabetes instruction to newly diagnosed adults - you may need to research:
    • education of adults
    • nursing role AND patient education
    • patient education AND new diagnoses
    • patient education AND diabetes
    • basics of diabetes (what do patients need to know)
  • Try several different databases depending on your topic.  For example, if education is a component of your project, you might want to check out the databases ERIC or Education Source, if there is a mental health component, try APA PsycInfo.  Database selection is a great time to check in with your librarian for recommendations.
  • Keep track of keywords, author names (of the article and in the reference list), journal titles - then search for more written by key authors or in key sources.
  • Select a way to organize your potential sources - e.g. create a research table, make notes, or use a citation manager like Zotero or Mendeley.

Selecting a Place to Publish

How do I select a journal to publish in?

Here are three good starting points for thinking about this:

  • Start by looking at the journal titles used in your literature review – those journals might also be interested in your paper. 
  • Imagine your article is already published, what keywords would you use to search the databases?  Then do a search and evaluate the journal titles in the results.  These journals might also publish your article.  Be realistic in evaluating the results.  A high impact journal that published large sample size research may not publish an article based on your topic.  But at the same time, dream a little, you have worked hard and the world should be interested!
  • Finally, think about who would want to read about your topic, are there professional societies related to my topic? If I was a professional working in this area what journal would I subscribe to.   –   for your topic is there a professional organization with a journal?  (hint: almost always, yes!)

Once you have a possible title, you will want to research what types of articles they accept:

For this you can google the journal and get to a page about the journal that includes a link for authors (it may take a little poking around, but every journal website will have instructions on how to submit manuscripts) – this should include something about the aim and scope of the journal, the types of articles and topics they accept for publication, and the requirements (length, formatting and style) for submission. (Don't discount a journal because they use a style other than APA, it is not that hard to reformat references and in-text citations once they are made.) 

If the journal seems like an option:

  • As a last step, search the journal itself and skim through the articles, reading a few if they are open access or if we have a subscription, asking yourself: have they published articles like mine (as regards topics, sample sizes, research method, and how are they written).

Here are some additional suggestions for selecting and evaluating a journal to publish in on the SPU Library Copyright for Authors Subject Guide

Having trouble finding options?  Ask a Librarian for help.