HNB1102 & HNB1205 Foundations in Nursing: Getting started on your assignment

Getting Ready for your Nursing Degree

Identifying keywords for searching

Watch this video to learn how to identify keywords when searching for information on a topic.

Steps to a successful assignment (Essay)

1.    Collect all your information about the assignment

  • the handout on the assignment (due date, word limit, formatting, presentation, marking guide)
  • the type of sources required for your Reference List e.g. books, journal articles
  • notes from classes on how to complete the essay 

2.    Analyse and prepare

  • read your notes and class readings for direction
  • do a mind map on the topic- use questions to expand the ideas and knowledge you already have
  • do some preliminary research to expand your ideas
  • from your mind map write some points grouped under general headings
  • where there are gaps in information (or more detail or examples needed) write down some questions that you can research
  • identify keywords & search the Library for additional sources e.g. books, journal articles (see the box below for an example of how to break down a topic into Keywords, see the videos in this guide on searching for journal articles)
  • write a plan for your essay
  • what information do you already have? what further information do you need?

3.    Read for Information

  • read Required Reading and make notes
  • read the additional articles etc. for information not in the Required Reading
  • prepare each Reference as you read it, ensure it is written in the APA referencing style. See the APA referencing guide for further assistance

4.    Start writing

  • collect notes from your reading and start to build your essay
  • write the correct References for each of your readings for your Reference

Identifying Keywords for searching

See HNB1205 Foundations in Nursing 2 on VU Collaborate for information about essay requirements.

Once you have reviewed  your Essay topic and done some preliminary reading you are ready to break down the topic into areas for research.The next step is to identify keywords, which can be selected from both the topic and your readings. Brainstorm synonyms or alternative terms that are relevant to your topic.

Keywords can be single words or phrases. You will need to use different combinations of keywords in a number of different searches to ensure you cover all aspects of the topic.    

Below are example keywords that could be used to retrieve journal articles from a library database, such as CINAHL. The topic under investigation is medication errors, causes, effect on patients and the nurse’s role in prevention.

View the videos in this guide to learn how to use keywords to search for books and journal articles available at Victoria University Library.

Keyword and sample search examples

 medication errors OR “adverse drug event”

medication errors AND risk factors

medication errors AND ( aetiology OR etiology OR causes)

(medication errors OR "adverse drug event") AND prevention

medication errors AND nursing role

medication errors AND (nursing role OR nursing practice)

View the videos in this guide to learn how to use keywords to search for books and journal articles available at Victoria University Library.