TDNet Discover

The Science in Research

"Research is conducted according to the researcher’s intention, their purpose, and the paradigm they’re operating from within. While many people use the word “research” to loosely mean “gathering information” scientists use this word in a more specific way.

The term “research” in a scientific context usually refers to the entire scientific method from start to finish. The information gathering portion of the scientific method is more properly called a “review.”"- Martyn ShuttleworthLyndsay T Wilson (Oct 3, 2008). Definition of Research. Retrieved Jun 18, 2019 from


Type of Question Study
Therapy/Intervention RCT > Cohort > Case Control > Case Series
Diagnosis Prospective, blind comparison to gold standard
Etiology/Harm/Risk Factors RCT > Cohort > Case Control > Case Series
Prognosis/prediction Cohort > Case Control> Case Series
Prevention RCT > Cohort > Case Control > Case Series
Quality Improvement RCT > Qualitative Study
Cost Economic Evaluation


The Scientific Method

Literature Searching: What and Why?

Literature searching is the systematic review of published articles, data, books and reviews. Sometimes referred to as "evidence", this process is carried out with the intention of supporting or disproving a query.

Evidence based practice (EBP) includes literature searching  in response to identified clinical or practice based questions.
It is important that researchers understand the characteristics of the databases within which they are searching.
Scholarly, peer-reviewed articles and quality research manuscripts can be found in databases organized and indexed using biomedical terminology and medical subject headings [MeSH].

National Library of Medicine Videos

The following set of videos, designed specifically for nurses, provides an introduction to searching literature in PubMed. Click on the icon below for a live link:

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Click on the icon above to access a quick reference for searching in PubMed with MeSH

CINAHL Searching Tutorial

Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklists

  is an international not-for-profit, research and development center within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Renown for quality evidence based research and protocols, JBI offers critical appraisal checklists as tools for researchers.

Using boolean operators to connect search terms


Image credit: Dr.Samir Haffar slide deck;

Things to Consider

The Center for Evidence Based Managment (CEBMa) recommends that researchers consider the following questions in regard to published research and evidence. The process of evaluating evidence is known as critical appraisal.

1. Is the evidence from a known, reputable source?

2. Has the evidence been evaluated in any way? If so, how and by whom?

3. How up-to-date is the evidence?

CEBMa offers tools to help appraise research studies in the form of Critical Appraisal Checklists; you can set up a free account to access these resources.