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Literature Search FAQs

Choose from the most commonly asked questions for help searching the AORN Journal:


I know which AORN Journal article I want. How can I find it?

Answer

Log on to the Journal site. If you want to retrieve a specific article and you know which issue of the Journal it appeared in, hover over Articles & Issues on the navigation bar and choose Past Issues. Follow the additional steps to choose the appropriate volume and issue.


How do I search for Journal articles?

Answer

  1. Log on to the Journal site.

  2. Enter a term in the search box under the menu bar.

Consider using specific rather than generic terms or searching for exact phrases (e.g., putting quotation marks around multiple-word terms).

If you find that your results are not what you expected or there are more than you want to sort through, consider narrowing your search by selecting either:

  • The part of an article you want to search (e.g., Authors, Abstract); do so from the dropdown menu for All Fields to the right of Search.

  • The Advanced Search option, where you can narrow your search by choosing date, keywords, or citation. Note that the default in the Keywords advanced search is to "match text exactly"; this is the same as putting something in quotes.

AORN members have online access to full-text articles in all issues of Journal.


How do I get back to the current issue?

Answer

To access the current issue of the Journal, hover over Articles & Issues on the menu bar under the AORN logo and choose Current Issue, or click on the picture of the current issue, or the Month in the center of the page.


Where else can I look for information?

Answer

CINAHL is a database devoted to nursing and allied-health and includes citations to articles from more than 1,000 journals. AORN members have access to CINAHL through their affiliate memberships in the American Nurses Association (ANA).

To access the CINAHL database, visit Nursing Worldand log in:

  1. Go to the Member Benefits tab, then Professional Tools, then CINAHL. Your username is the letters OR followed by your member number (e.g., OR123456), and your password is your last name.

  2. Choose "To get started" in the middle of the screen.

Although members have access to the CINAHL database and article abstracts, they do not have access to full-text articles.

MEDLINE is a National Library of Medicine database that includes citations to articles from more than 5,000 medical and bioscience journals. You can search MEDLINE at PubMed and consult their training materials for help conducting searches. Most articles found through MEDLINE searches require journal subscriptions for full-text access.


I know an issue of the AORN Journal included an article on a particular topic. How can I find it?

Answer

Start with a basic search. Type your search term in the search box next to Search for and select Go. Your search results will initially appear sorted by relevance, but you can sort by other criteria, such as date published.


I am interested in information on a particular topic, but I don't know whether the AORN Journal ever included an article on that topic. How can I determine if it did?

Answer

Start with a basic search. Type your search term in the search box next to Search for and select Go. Your search results will initially appear sorted by relevance, but you can sort by other criteria, such as date published.


I conducted my search, but there were so many results! What can I do to decrease the number and find what I need?

Answer

Very common or broad terms, such as sterilization, could result in a burdensome number of results, so you should first try doing another search with a more detailed or specific search term. If you can't think of a term that is more specific, you may opt for one of these other options:

  • Add more words. In the case of sterilization, are you interested in all kinds of sterilization? Or do you want to know more about flash sterilization in particular? If it's the latter, include both words in the search box.

  • Search for an exact phrase. To search for an exact phrase, put your multiple-word search term in quotation marks (e.g. "flash sterilization"). By doing so, you will find only articles that include the exact phrase "flash sterilization" rather than those that include the single words "flash" and "sterilization."

  • Limit your search to particular fields. Let's say you are interested in all kinds of sterilization. Although a lot of AORN Journal articles mention sterilization, not all of those articles are specifically about it. If you want to exclude articles that only mention sterilization, refine your results by specifying where in the article your search term should appear. Select the appropriate location (for example, Abstract) from the dropdown menu to the right of the search box. The default is All Fields.


There's an option for Advanced Search next to the Fields box. What's an Advanced Search, and could it help me?

Answer

An advanced search allows you to restrict your search (and thereby your search results) by field and date, as well as to use the advanced operators AND, OR, and NOT in conducting your search.

First, select Advanced Search. To limit your search by field, type your search term in the Keywords box and choose the field/fields you'd like to search. The fields available in the advanced search are different from those available in the basic search.

To limit by date, either choose a predetermined date restruction from the dropdown menu to the right of the word Dates or click on the circle next to From and enter your own dates.

Note that the default in the Keywords advanced search is to "match text exactly." Matching text exactly is the same as searching for an exact phrase (i.e., a phrase in quotation marks), so searching using a string of words will likely not provide the results you need. Let's say you'd like to find articles about sterilizing loaner instruments and type loaner instruments sterilization into the Keywords search box. If the Match text exactly box is clicked, there will be few if any articles returned. However, if the Match text exactly box is not clicked, your search results will contain a number of articles that inlude information about sterilizing loaner instruments.

For more information, please contact the AORN library at 800-755-2676.

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