Hospital nurses' information retrieval behaviours in relation to evidence based nursing: a literature review

Berit Elisabeth Alving*, Janne Buck Christensen, Lars Thrysøe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The purpose of this literature review is to provide an overview of the information retrieval behaviour of clinical nurses, in terms of the use of databases and other information resources and their frequency of use.

Systematic searches carried out in five databases and handsearching were used to identify the studies from 2010 to 2016, with a populations, exposures and outcomes (PEO) search strategy, focusing on the question: In which databases or other information resources do hospital nurses search for evidence based information, and how often?

Of 5272 titles retrieved based on the search strategy, only nine studies fulfilled the criteria for inclusion. The studies are from the United States, Canada, Taiwan and Nigeria. The results show that hospital nurses’ primary choice of source for evidence based information is Google and peers, while bibliographic databases such as PubMed are secondary choices. Data on frequency are only included in four of the studies, and data are heterogenous.

The reasons for choosing Google and peers are primarily lack of time; lack of information; lack of retrieval skills; or lack of training in database searching. Only a few studies are published on clinical nurses’ retrieval behaviours, and more studies are needed from Europe and Australia.
Translated title of the contributionHospitals sygeplejerskers informations-søgnings adfærd i relation til evidens baseret sygepleje: et litteratur review
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-23
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • bibliographic databases
  • evidence-based practice
  • information literacy
  • information retrieval
  • information seeking behaviour
  • information sources
  • nurses
  • review, literature
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Information Storage and Retrieval/methods
  • Evidence-Based Nursing/methods
  • Databases, Factual/trends


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