The process and outcome of a search for information on a topic from health or social care

The aim of this assignment is to look at the steps that were taken to search for information on a particular area of antenatal care. The search strategy will be developed using the steps outlined in The Study Skills Handbook and also using the Finding information for your assignment workbook. This will be done in a variety of ways, starting with the construction of a spider diagram to obtain key words relating to ante natal care (see appendix 1) which will result in the expansion of the relevant subsections relating to ante natal care.

Further information will be obtained by constructing a further spider diagram(see appendix 2) using key words relating to one of the tests performed during an ante natal examination (see appendix 3) which will form the basis of the search. A range of sources will be used to obtain the information, including books, government and other websites, gateways, databases and electronic journals. The information obtained from these sources will be discussed and compared to assess whether the information gathered was qualitative and whether enough information was gathered for an expansive portrayal of the subject.

The difficulties that were encountered whilst implementing and developing the search strategy and how they were resolved will be discussed. A conclusion that summarises the steps taken to perform the search will be added to finalise the assignment. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards of confidentiality will be maintained at all times throughout this essay. The topic to be explored was chosen as Urinalysis and key words and phrases were identified that related to this.

It was discovered that there are many identifying factors relating to this topic that could be included in a search statement such as infection, protein and Ph. The initial sources to be used for the search started with the internet and websites. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo were used initially; this was because a broader range of information could be found. It was specified that only UK sites were to be used and it was found that although these search engines provided a wide range of information, they were exceptionally prolific.

Using the keywords ‘urinalysis’ and ‘antenatal care’ in the search box Google provided 26,300 hits. When this topic was searched using Google scholar the amount was reduced to 1,040 hits. An advanced Google Scholar search using the same keywords with the Boolean operator ‘and’ (Maslin-Prothero, 2005) provided 1,060 hits. Yahoo issued a much smaller amount of hits but still provided 2,060. The advanced Yahoo search reduced the amount by 1,000. Although the amount of information sourced from these search engines was vast, it was hard to find information of good quality and the majority of sites were irrelevant.

A lot of valuable time was wasted sifting through varying websites trying to find the information that was required; the majority of sites were American, even though British sites were requested, which used different terms and language, therefore making reading rather confusing and over five years old so were also probably way out of date. Google scholar did lead to a few sites that were of some value, such as www. pubmed. gov which published an article called “The clinical utility of routine urinalysis in pregnancy: a prospective study” and www. sciencedirect. om which published an article called “Routine antenatal management later in pregnancy” but these provided an abstract only and not the full text article, unless it was purchased, which became increasingly irritating. The second search was undertaken using library text books from the university library catalogue and my own textbooks which were Myles Textbook for Midwives, Bailliere’s Midwives Dictionary and Skills for Midwifery Practice as these were professional books which had more detailed information on urinalysis, such as why it is performed and what the midwife is looking for.

The text books were easy to read and the required information was easy to locate. The information that these books provided on the chosen subject was incredibly detailed and gave a full insight into the reasons why urinalysis is undertaken. This gave the specific information that was sought to improve and expand the knowledge and skills required for ante natal examinations. The text books are also a trusted source of information as they are recommended by the university for student midwives. One problem that could possibly come from the text books is that as they take two years to publish, the information may be slightly out of date.

There are also many editions, so exploring the latest edition was imperative to gain the most up to date information. The third search was performed using online journals which proved unproductive. These were accessed using health related databases Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Science Direct and Intute. These were accessed as it was thought that they would provide a more detailed, professional approach to the topic which would give midwifery specific information than other, more generalised, websites would.

Science Direct had no midwifery specific information on urinalysis and antenatal care, only general information could be found which was of no help as specific antenatal information was required. CINAHL was found to be an exceptionally complex site. A lot of time was spent trying to log on to the site, which was frustrating so eventually the site was accessed without logging on. Working around the site to try and find a relevant article also took up a great amount of time as it provided a list of contents that could only be purchased to receive the full text.

The information gateway Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAP) was accessed via the university blackboard. This was found to be an incredibly easy site to use with relevant material to the topic that was being searched. The information discovered was easy to read and exceptionally informative. The gateway Intute was then accessed online as the final part of the search as this would then give a broad spectrum of search material. This was another easy to use, health related website.

There were no results found when the search statement ‘urinalysis and antenatal care’ was used, although when the key word ‘urinalysis’ was used it provided 3 results under the search criteria which were similar to those provided by NMAP. They were incredibly informative and easy to follow results which included a tutorial entitled “understanding the urinalysis” and “A quick reference guide to urine tests” which was a reference guide from the Nursing Standard. Science Direct was the next site to be explored and again, using the search statement ‘urinalysis and antenatal care’, 2 results were provided.

Although these were informative and intriguing articles, they were not as basic as was required. The information needed was to supply knowledge for the foundations of ante natal care, whereas the articles found were too detailed and immersed in problematic pregnancies. They were also supplied as abstract only and the full article would have to be purchased. Throughout this essay, a detailed description of the strategy used to search for information has been given. Using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle (1998) (Jasper, 2003), he search undertaken will be reflected upon. Included within this will be a description of the events, feelings encountered throughout the search, an evaluation of the experience, an analysis and a conclusion. An action plan will also be implemented explaining how the process of a search will be performed in the future. I undertook the majority of the search at home, using my own textbooks and online journals. I find this to be a peaceful environment to concentrate in, where I can work at my own pace without many distractions.

I visited the university library on a number of occasions as I found that a number of my colleagues were using the facility and we could share our views on the subject and give each other support and advice when we were feeling disheartened. I could also access a number of materials within the library that are inaccessible at home, such as other text books and journals. At the beginning of this assignment and after attending many lectures guiding us on the subject, I felt extremely positive at the prospect of undertaking the search and gaining an increased breadth of knowledge within a subject that I feel passionate about.

I initially felt that I would find this assignment reasonably undemanding and assumed that I would find the relevant literature without any difficulty. However, this soon proved not to be the case. Searching through text books at home and in the university library was uncomplicated and fairly straightforward. This gave me a sense of false security and made me feel that if I can find the required information this easily, then the assignment would be easy to complete. When I started to access the online materials, my sense of ease started to vanish and was rapidly replaced by feelings of frustration.

I found this style of search far more complex than I initially thought it would be and felt that I must be using the sites incorrectly or that I had missed a vital piece of information given during one of the core lectures at university. I discussed my apprehension with my colleagues and they assured me that they had the same difficulties accessing the material. It occurred to me that it wasn’t that I was doing anything incorrectly; it was simply that this was a learning opportunity for me to discover a systematic way of searching for information.

The feelings and emotions that I felt whilst executing this variety of search are ones that I had not anticipated, especially as I had felt so positive at the outset. Whilst evaluating the experience I realised that although there were many negative feelings and aspects of the task, there were also many positive factors. The feelings that I experienced once I located information were euphoric, these were the times that I finally felt that I was making progress. However, when I was faced with the complications of either not finding relevant material or not being allowed access to a particular source, it was disheartening.

These were the times when I felt less able to concentrate on my work and I felt like giving up. On reflection, searching for specific literature is a complex task. It is one that I did not anticipate how frustrated I would feel, especially whilst attempting to search for what I considered to be simple information. I expected to instantaneously find the information and felt uncharacteristically frustrated when this failed to happen for me. I now realise that these expectations are unrealistic. The methods that I used to perform the task I would not necessarily change.

I would however make more time and effort to visit the university library and make full use of the services and resources that they have. In hindsight, I should have made more use of the library staff as I only used them to locate a certain book. In the future I will approach them for their advice and guidance as well as liaising with my colleagues. I naturally seem to utilise text books to search for information but the library also has an extensive range of journals and other publications which would have assisted me in my search as they have more up to date material.

This essay has included the development of a search strategy, discussed the difficulties and complications encountered whilst developing the strategy and given detailed analysis of the sources used to implement the search. It has discussed the reliability and usefulness of articles found within these resources. This essay has reflected on the effectiveness of the search and evaluated the experience. An action plan has also been included for future search methods and how this can be achieved.