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Nursing Resources: A Self-Paced Tutorial and Refresher: 1.3 Background Questions: Finding Books

An online instructional tool to orient users to the NYU virtual environment: books, databases, articles, more.

1.3 Locating Background Information (Scoping Search)

A Scoping Search:

Background questions,* ask about general knowledge about a disorder or topic. A scoping search begins to locate general knowledge about a topic.

  • I need an overview of type 2 diabetes (a disease).
  • I need a summary of best strategies for...weight loss for obese adolescents
  • I need to review the history of health care reform in the U.S.
  • I need a definition of Type 2 diabetes
  • What are the side effects of statin drugs?
  • I need a summary of  best practices for postoperative care following total knee arthroplasty?

Background/overview information may be found in sources such as

  • books and e-books, evidence summaries, reference books, textbooks, chapters, appendices (available both in print and electronically) and discussed next in Module 1.4.
  • drug directories, guides to diagnostic tests
  • overview articles (often tagged as "review articles" accessed via article databases;
    Limiting an article search to "review" articles is detailed in Module 2.2)
  • Expert opinions, pre-synthesized and pre-appraised guidelines, summaries.

Using a library catalog like BobCat can be a good starting point for locating books, reference books, and electronic reference tools.

The Bobcat search below is for hospital infection.  Notice the SUBJECT terms on the left that describe the results in the full library record. Notice the subject term: nosocomial infections. So, re-doing your initial search, using the standard terms: nosocomial infections OR cross infection might be more effective.




The full display below shows the first book on the list and its call number location:


Once you have a call number, if that book is in the Bobst Main Collection, you can use the floor map to locate the book in Bobst Library.


*Sackett, D. L., Straus, S. E., Richardson, W. S., Rosenberg, W.,Haynes, R. B. (2000). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM (2nd ed.). Edinburgh; New York: Churchill Livingstone.


Click Forward to go to Module 1.4

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Search for books, journals, videos, etc. in our local libraries and special collections.

NYU Libraries' online catalog.

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