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Biology 2404 Harman's Extra Credit Research Guide - LSC-North Harris

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Your goal is to identify one, two or three scholarly journal articles, no more than five years old, that at least in part describe tasks and/or working conditions in your future career and summarize the content.

Find these scholarly journal articles by using our Research Databases.  Use your 14-digit library barcode number for off-campus access (the number is on the back of your student ID).  Don't have an ID? Get one from the library. Distance students can fill out the online request form.

FIRST STEP – Choose your database(s).

Prospective Careers Recommended Databases
Emergency Medical Technicians
Dental Hygienists
Respiratory Therapists
Radiologic Technologists
Surgical Technologists
Search CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Play Button IconVideo Tutorial

You will do all your searching in the database. There is enough literature in CINAHL about your topics that you may need to narrow down your results.

Medical Assistants
Pharmacy Technicians
Health Information Technologists (Medical records)
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Physical Therapy Assistants
Search CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Academic Search Complete, and Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition at the same time.  (Link searches all three databases at the same time.) 
Kinesiologists (Physical education & training)
Choose Academic Search Complete. Play Button IconVideo Tutorial

SECOND STEP – Set up your search limits.

  1. Check the Full-text box.
  2. Check the Scholarly Journals (or Peer Reviewed) box.
  3. Enter the acceptable year range in the “published date” or “publication years” fields, e.g., 2006-2010.
  4. Page limits:  
    • CINAHL does not let you set page limits.
    • In CINAHL, do the math as you see the page ranges in your results.
    • In the other databases: do not be misled by this option! Set an upper limit of 7 or 8 pages. Some articles that claim to be 3 or 4 pages long will not be acceptable because they have large illustrations/charts or long reference lists or both. Your “2 to 5 pages” means 2 to 5 pages of text.

THIRD STEP – Enter your search term(s) and Search.

Nurses, select a keyword phrase that best describes a specialty that interests you and enter it into the search field, e.g., pediatric nursing, emergency nursing, gerontologic nursing, orthopedic nursing.

If your results are off-target or too few, try to combine two terms, for example: nursing role and surgery, hospitals and nursing role, nursing and hospice.

HITT and KINE hopefuls, use the parenthetical phrases given above as additional or alternative search terms.

All others, enter your career phrase (listed in the Prospective Careers column, above).

If the suggested databases don’t give you what you want, try three things:

  1. Re-do your search in "Advanced" mode, and change the field label to "All Text."
  2. Try a different database, for example, Health Reference Center Academic. You can use the same limits.
  3. Ask a librarian for help.

FOURTH STEP – Review your results.

Select articles that describe the profession you hope to enter and the patients/conditions you will encounter. 


  • If you want to be a dental hygienist and the article is about oncology nursing, do not select it.
  • If the article describes legal or administrative conditions in England or China or Israel that do not apply in the United States (or wherever you plan to work), do not select it.
  • If the article is about working on battlefields and you want to be a labor & delivery nurse, do not select it.


  • If the article describes conditions and/or work that you will encounter because it’s that way around the world, then it’s OK from an American journal or from an Australian journal. Use it.

FIFTH STEP – Select your articles.

Email each one you choose to yourself; do not delete it from your inbox until you are done with the course.
You can work from your inbox to read the articles and to provide copies to Prof. Harman. If you like to print hard copies or save to your pc or flash drive, that also can be done from your inbox.

Why email? Yahoo, Gmail, etc., won’t lose your inbox. People lose thumb drives & paper all the time.

SIXTH STEP – Write your summary.

Read each article carefully, then read it again. Compose a ½-page to one-page summary. Write and rewrite it until you are satisfied that it fairly summarizes the article.

  • The article title is the title of your summary.
  • Add the APA citation for the article (your source) at the end of your summary.
APA Style

Video Introduction to APA (7 min)



Formatting a Research Paper in Microsoft Word



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