Nursing (Graduate): Thesis / SIP / DNP Projects

Comprehensive Search Checklist

This checklist is intended as a general outline of items to complete. In practice, the database searches will likely require multiple sessions. In the literature discovery process, you are likely to learn new keywords, MeSH terms and Subject Heading (CINAHL) that will alter your searches. You may also need to readjust elements of your PICO based on initial searches. A search log is highly recommended to track terms and results. 

  1. Search CINAHL
  2. Search in PubMed
  3. Search in additional relevant databases such as: PsychArticles, Science Direct, or OVID
  4. Mined references (backward referencing) of highly relevant articles (See Citation Mining)
  5. Forward searched highly relevant articles in Web of Science, Google Scholar and PubMed (see Forward Searching)

It is also highly recommended that you meet with a librarian to review your search. A librarian can help verify if your database searches are exhaustive.  

Forward Searching

Forward searching is locating articles that cite an article in its references. It is called forward searching because it involves articles published after the article. Several databases include a list of "Cited By" articles, including: 

  • Web of Science
  • Google Scholar
  • PubMed 

"Cited by" in PubMed

From the article record / abstract page, find link to "Cited By" on the right sidebar.

A Cited By list also appears at the bottom of the record, 


Citation Mining

Citation mining refers to using the references of relevant articles to find additional sources. This is also called backwards citation searching since the reference list only includes articles that were published before the article referencing them. 

Search by DOI or PMID

If the citation includes a PMID or DOI, you can search with only that unique identifier. 

Lookup a journal article by DOI or PMID


*Tip: DOIs start with 10.###   Omit any HTTP or HTTPS. See this FAQ for details

Search Logs