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NUR306: Writing for Professionals

Developing a Clinical Question

An effective research question for evidence-based nursing:

  • has been asked and researched before by someone else;
  • focuses on an issue in health care "that can be measured or described in some consistent manner";
  • discusses what nurses need or want to do about the issue.

For example: "What is the impact of an educational program on violence in the workplace in an emergency department setting?"


Searching CINAHL

Once you have written your research question, use CINAHL to find research articles. CINAHL (Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is the premier nursing database. It indexes journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and more.


Using AND narrows your search. Using OR expands your search. (put OR terms on the same line).

If one of your search terms is an abbreviation (for example, CHF), use the full term (congestive heart failure) instead.

Be patient! Using CINAHL effectively takes practice and time.

How Do I Find the Full Text?

After completing your search for articles in one of the library's databases, you'll see several options for accessing the full text. View this guide for help with accessing the full text of an article.