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Quick Reference: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Reference Sources

What are Reference Sources? 

These sources can help you get an overview of your topic. They can give you access to in-depth, authoritative articles on your topic and help you identify essential readings in the field. They are also useful for clarifying terms or concepts that you are less familiar with, and for identifying keywords to use when searching for more information. 

Let's take a look at an example: 

Let's imagine you're tasked with writing a paper on the utilization of telehealth in nursing practice, specifically focusing on remote patient monitoring for chronic diseases like diabetes. Here's how you might use reference sources to initiate your research:

  1. Getting an Overview of Your Topic: Start by accessing general reference sources such as nursing textbooks, encyclopedias, reputable websites like Medline or Mayo Clinic, or academic databases like ProQuest Central, CINAHL, or Google Scholar. Look for articles or entries that provide an overview of telehealth in nursing, particularly its application in remote patient monitoring for chronic diseases. Explore how telehealth has been integrated into nursing practice, the benefits, challenges, and any existing guidelines or standards.

  2. Identifying Essential Readings in the Field: Delve deeper into the literature by identifying key articles and studies on telehealth applications in nursing, especially those focusing on remote patient monitoring for chronic diseases. Look at the sources cited by each article or entry for ideas on where to look next. Utilize databases like ProQuest Central or CINAHL to find studies that showcase the effectiveness of telehealth in managing chronic conditions and improving patient outcomes and check their reference lists.

  3. Clarifying Terms or Concepts You Aren't Familiar With: If you encounter unfamiliar terms related to telehealth or specific monitoring technologies, use specialized dictionaries, glossaries, or online resources tailored to nursing professionals. Websites like your state nursing board or government sites like the CDC or WHO often provide definitions and explanations of key terms. 

  4. Identifying Keywords for Further Information Search: To broaden your search and find additional relevant sources, identify keywords and phrases commonly used in the literature on telehealth and remote patient monitoring in nursing. Terms like "telemedicine in nursing," "remote patient monitoring," or "telehealth technologies for chronic diseases" can guide you to specific aspects of your topic. Maintain a list of these keywords to use when searching databases, library catalogs, or online repositories for more information.

By following these steps, you can systematically explore the existing literature, clarify your understanding of key concepts in telehealth nursing, and identify avenues for further research to inform your paper on the use of telehealth for remote patient monitoring in chronic disease management.


Picture of common reference sources including an atlas, dictionary and encyclopedia.

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