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RN-BSN Library Guide

Use this Library Research Guide to help locate evidence-based resources including articles, information on research appraisal, statistics, evidence translation, clinical practice tools, informatics and professional resources.

Key Definitions

Definitions and Examples

Case Study: Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research. However, very simply… ‘a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units’. A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a single individual, group, community or some other unit in which the researcher examines in-depth data relating to several variables. See examples and explanation in: Case StudiesThis link opens in a new window

Clinical Symptoms: A symptom is a manifestation of disease apparent to the patient himself, while a sign is a manifestation of disease that the health provider perceives. The sign is objective evidence of disease; a symptom, subjective. Symptoms represent the complaints of the patient. Chronic kidney disease (newly identified): Clinical presentation and diagnostic approach in adults This link opens in a new window.

Complementary or Integrative Health intervention:  This link opens in a new window emphasizes multimodal interventions, which are two or more interventions such as conventional health care approaches (like medication, physical rehabilitation, psychotherapy), and complementary health approaches (like acupuncture, yoga, and probiotics) in various combinations, with an emphasis on treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system. See Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health This link opens in a new window

Conventional intervention: conventional medical practices including medications, physical rehabilitation, and/or psychotherapy focusing on specific individual body systems sometimes referred to as Western medicine.

Etiology: the study of the causes of diseases or the cause of a disease. The study of the processes by which a disease is caused and transmitted, including the pathogens involved. Adjectives: etiologic, etiological. Example of etiology related to a specific disease see: Etiology of depression This link opens in a new window

Morbidity: the state of being ill or having a disease. See Morbidity This link opens in a new window

Prevalence: a measure of morbidity based on current levels of disease in a population, estimated either at a particular time )point prevalence) or over a stated period (period prevalence). It can be expressed either in terms of affected people (persons) or epidsodes of sickness per 1000 individuals at risk. See Prevalence This link opens in a new window

Symptomology: the branch of medicine concerned with the study and classification of the symptoms of disease. Example of symptomology in a disease see: Symptomology of West Nile Virus This link opens in a new window

Credible Sources

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word credible This link opens in a new window as "offering reasonable grounds for being believed." A credible source, then, is one that you can reasonably believe to be true.

You can use the following five criteria to help you determine if the source offers those "reasonable grounds" for credibility:

  • Currency: Is the content presented current enough for your project?
  • Relevancy:  Does it answer your question or contribute to your research?
  • Accuracy: Is the information provided correct?
  • Authority: Does the author have expertise on the topic about which he/she is writing?
  • Purpose or Objectivity: Is there bias or a slant given to the information provided?

For more information on evaluating sources, check out our Evaluating Sources guide and the Source Evaluation Rubric.


Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Credible. In dictionary. Retrieved January 4, 2020, from 

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

What's the different between scholarly and popular sources? Watch this video to find out:

Are All Library Resources Scholarly?

No, not all resources you'll find at the library are scholarly.

In many cases, the books you get from the library and articles you find in the library's research databases are scholarly. These sources have often gone through a traditional editorial or peer review process, which means that someone or some group has checked all the facts and arguments the author made and deemed them suitable for publishing. However, you still have to think about whether the book or article is current, objective, and relevant enough for your research.

The library does subscribe to some non-scholarly publications such as popular magazines like People, Vogue, and Ebony. Some library databases include non-scholarly publications like newspapers and trade magazines as well so no matter where you're searching for information you should always evaluate your sources for their relevancy, currency, objectiveness, authoritativeness, and accuracy. 

Check out the video below for more information:

Levels of Evidence

Even among scholarly sources, there are differences in the kinds of methods used to collect data and create knowledge, and these levels of evidence are ranked. Some levels of evidence will be insufficient for certain purposes. Watch the video below to learn more.

British Healthcare System

Suggested Databases

Further Reading