Finding and using evidence in academic assignments: The bane of student life

Debbie Roberts, Karen Ousey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Within schools of nursing, students are expected to produce academic assignments which demonstrate their abilities, to find, appraise and apply research findings in clinical practice. The main objective of academic education is to develop lifelong learning skills in the student (Jerlock et al., 2003) with lecturers being expected to educate students who are competent, knowledgeable, and able to successfully complete both academic and clinical assignments and assessments. However, little is known about how student nurses acquire such skills or whether they perceive such skills to be valuable to their future role as qualified nurses. Aims: To explore student nurses' experiences of learning to search for and use evidence in order to support their academic assignments, and unearth their perceptions of the value of such skills to their future role as qualified nurses. Methods: An exploratory pilot study at two schools of nursing in the United Kingdom, using questionnaires, with a sample size of 110, Year 3 nursing students from adult and children's nursing fields of practice. Findings: The findings indicate that students value specific teaching sessions (taught by members of library staff) delivered at the beginning of the programme. Students make good use of in-house search engines where these are provided and are mainly searching for nursing literature with a small minority appearing to have no clear search strategy. Students appear to associate literature searching skills as potentially valuable in their future role as a qualified nurse, however, consider that such skills are more closely associated with further academic study rather than with clinical practice. Conclusion: It seems that more work is required by educators in order to help students to associate literature searching skills with nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


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