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DNS 820 Intro to the DNP: Home

A guide to searching library resources for evidence for your literature review.


The tutorials and guides on these pages are here to help you make the most of our library's databases and subscriptions while you are working on your literature review for DNS 820 and beyond.

Please fell free to reach out to us at any time during the semester to get help with finding articles for your literature review. If you are off campus, we can assist over the phone or with screen sharing software.

PICO(T) Questions and Search Strategies

Placing your research question in the PICO(T) format can help you ensure that your question is answerable. If your question doesn't fit PICO(T), it might be too specific (not enough results) or too general (too many results) to research using the databases. The video tutorial below will take you through the process of developing a PICO(T) question.

A PICO(T) question also makes searching easier because the type of question determines what type of evidence you should look for:

Type of PICO(T) Question Type of Evidence Needed to Answer
Diagnosis Studies reporting performance characteristics
Therapy Clinical trials
Randomized Controlled Trials
Systematic Reviews (of Clinical Trials and RCTs)
Etiology Cohort Studies
Case Control Studies
Systematic reviews (of Cohort and Case Control Studies)
Prognosis Cohort Studies
Meaning Qualitative Studies: Ethnography, Phenomenology, Grounded theory, Focus groups

Remember that some types of evidence are stronger than others. Often evidence is shown in a pyramid, in which each ascending level represents a different type of study design and corresponds to increasing rigor, quality, and reliability of the evidence.  In other words, as we ascend through these different study designs, we become more confident that their results are accurate, have less chance of statistical error, and minimize bias from confounding variables that could have influenced the results. (

Evidence Based Practice Pyramid

Always aim for the highest level of evidence appropriate to your question type. For your DNS 820 lit review, you will probably be asked to use original research studies only and not systematic reviews. However, if you find a systematic review that answers your question, you can use it to lead you to original research studies relevant to your question.

Subject Guide

Amanda Tarbet
Office 431
38 Third Ave

Peer Review

Peer Review Image

Peer Review

This term refers to a method of vetting articles or other materials most commonly for inclusion in a journal.  

It involves having colleagues who are knowledgeable in a discipline examine articles before they are published, and it is a way to help verify that the research an article presents is sound and its conclusions logical.