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All About Ref Questions


Students may be able to "CLEP" out or test out of some required freshmen classes or prerequisites. (CLEP: College Level Examination Program.) Send them to the library database "Testing and Education Reference Center" and find "Online practice tests and courses" linked in the right column.

What was popular in 1850? What did people wear in 1985?

First, pick a major topic and then add some other limiter or you will be overwhelmed with the number of hits. Be sure to use quotation marks around phrases and parenthesis to find synonyms.

Topic: fashion, clothing, "social life," "popular culture, " civilization, etc.

Location: "united states," europe, india, etc.

Time period: "middle ages," neoclassical, "18th century," "20th century," etc.

So a complex search will look like this: "20th century" AND (fashion OR clothing OR costume)

A complex search works ONLY in the keyword anywhere (and, or, not) search option.

Or look for these books:

I need primary sources by a particular nurse on the theory she developed

The purpose of this assignment is to find at least two primary sources -- in this case, articles written by a nurse who developed a seminal theory of nursing -- discussing the theory.  The nurses seem to be drawn from an existing list provided to the class.

Some general notes:

  • So far every nurse that this assignment has examined is dead, so I recommend doing a Google pre-search to find her death date.  You will find some database articles written by the nurse after her death date.  Barring inadvertently finding literature by another nurse with the same name, these may be posthumous publications, or long-range latitudinal studies there were still in progress when the nursing theorist died.  Setting a date range should eliminate these newer studies.
  • When you pre-search, finding the nurse's middle initial is also helpful in ensuring you find articles written by this specific nurse when you search the database literature.

Where to search:

  • CINAHL is the best place to search, though students are welcom,e to try other databases as well.  In CINAHL, search the author's last name followed by her first and middle initials, wither the right-side dropdown menu set to "author."  No punctuation, no space in between the initials, just a space between the last name and first initial:  Johnson DE
  • From here, use the date slider bar to eliminate any articles published following the nurse's death.  You will have a list of her publications which the student can look through to find articles discussing the theory in question
  • We will have some of the articles available electronically, though many wioll have to be requested through ILL.
  • Many of these nurses published books as well.  Use the catalog to find them, though caution the students that these books are a big ticket item while the class has the assignment, so many may be checked out.

Here is the assignment.  Elaine Steinke and Carol Bett are (as of Fall 2015) the professors:

1.     Review the criteria in the syllabus for this assignment. The purpose is to help to get to know some of the grand theories that guide nursing practice.

2.     You will be assigned one nursing grand theorist – Look in Blackboard (in Assignments) for your assigned grand theorist. Search for information on this theorist and the associated theory. You need at least three references on this theorist and the associated theory: one reference may be your text or a website about the theorist; two should be from primary sources. (Review the information from Week 1 on primary vs. secondary sources if needed.)


3.     Mini Paper: Write a 3 page summary of the grand theory (paraphrased, i.e., your own words). 

  Address these areas in your paper (Total – 50 points):

·       Brief summary of the background of the theorist (one paragraph) (10 pts)

·       Purpose of the theory (5 pts)

·       Major concepts and relationships among concepts of the theory (20 pts)

·       What can we learn from this theorist to inform nursing practice today? (10 pts)

·       Grammar/writing style/ APA format (5 pts)


·       Cite your references at the end of the paper, on a separate page. i.e.  Reference as a centered heading, followed by your reference in APA style. (Remember to correctly cite a “chapter in an edited book”, see APA manual).


Remember to put your name and date in the header and save the file as stated in the syllabus. You do not need a title page for this assignment.


Attach in your Group Discussion Board AND using link in Assignments folder as directed in Assignments. Complete your Discussion Board assignment.

4.     Go to “Assignments”. Click on your Discussion Group. Click on “Create Thread”.

a.     Summarize the grand theory discussed in your paper in one paragraph, including purpose and major concepts.

b.     Search the literature for an article example of application of your assigned theory to practice: post a summary of the article as a second paragraph in your discussion. Cite your article source at the end of your posting.

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