Do I understand the assignment / research question? Do I need recent information? Do I need an evidence-based answer? Do I already know the name of someone researching on my topic? Have I already got a relevant journal article or book?
Is the information I need more likely to be in
a book a journal article a drug database Cochrane Library DynaMed or BMJ Best Practice or First Consult in ClinicalKey or Lippincott Advisor for nurses A specialised free web resource such as OMIM, BLAST or dbVar A website eg Ministry of Health, Health Quality & Safety Commission, bpac, Kidshealth etc
Do I know which is the best database to use to start my search? Do I know where to find help if I am not sure how to search the database?
Strategies for choosing search terms
Do I need to put a clinical scenario into a sentence? Have I picked out the key words / concepts? Have I thought of synonyms? Have I thought of variations in the spelling or ending of my key words? Do I need to spell out in full any acronyms or abbreviations?
Finding the full text of articles
Do I know how to find the full text of an article
from a reading or reference list? from results in a database? in Google Scholar? What do I do if it asks for money?
Have I followed up on items in the reference list of a useful article? Have I checked if a useful article has been cited since it was published? Have I done more searching using MeSH or Emtree or author keywords from a useful article?
Do I know which reference style I need to use? Do I know where to find examples of my reference style? Have I kept details of the items I want to cite or refer to? Have I learnt how to use referencing software such as RefWorks?
Do I need to write an essay, a literature review, a lab report or something else? Do I know how to write and structure an academic essay? Do I know what a literature review is? Do I know how to write and structure a literature review? Do I know how to write and structure a lab report?