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Allied Health - General

Research tools to assist students in Respiratory Care and Surgical Technology Programs.

Allied Health Databases

Find articles in allied health fields using keywords and subject terms.

Allied Health Websites

Respiratory Care Journals

Library Tutorial

Practice Guideline Research Exercise


Developments in the field of respiratory care are reported in several journals. Students may formulate research questions using the acronym PICO--Patient, Intervention, Control Group, Outcome. +

For example, De Pew (2013) in "Correlations Between Gait Speed, 6-Minute Walk Distance, Physical Activity, and Self-Efficacy in Patients With Severe Chronic Lung Disease" in Respiratory Care  looks at walking, physical stamina, and self efficacy among patients with chronic lung disorders as a way to evaluate their prognosis regarding respiratory health. 

The PICO framework

P  Patients who have chronic lung disease

I  Measure physical activity (walking) and reports of walking efficacy by study subjects 

C Use American Thoracic Society standards to categorize physical activity level among study's subjects

O Assess the relationship between gait speed and 6 MWD and determine if 4 meter gait speed is a substitute for 6 minute walking distance  

As a sentence, the PICO question reads:

In Patients who have chronic lung disease,
walking as a physical activity was measured ( I )
and Compared to American Thoracic Society standards
to determine whether an Outcome which substitutes 4 meter gait speed
for 6 mile walking distance is valid.   

De Pew's full text article is downloadable Correlations Between Gait Speed, 6-Minute Walk Distance, Physical Activity, and Self-Efficacy in Patients With Severe Chronic Lung Disease

The PICO framework is discussed in more detail by Schardt (2007) +, who firmly believes that PICO research questions are integral to establishing evidence-based practice.  The elements of the PICO framework are "Patient problem, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome." 

+ Schardt C, Adams MB, Owens T, Keitz S, & Fontelo P. (2007). Utilization of the PICO framework to improve searching PubMed for clinical questions. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 7, 16.


Find the text of a clinical guideline issued by the American Association of Respiratory Care AARC in the association's publication, Respiratory Care or on the AARC website or do some research on a topic such as drug therapies for COPD

After you have chosen a topic, establish a research question. 


1. Research assignment - practice exercise 1

    A. The full text of American Association for Respiratory Care AARC practice guidelines are published in
         Respiratory Care and on the AARC website.

    B. Find practice guidelines listed below:

         i. Pulmonary Function Testing
                        American Association for Respiratory Care. (1996). AARC clinical practice guideline: 
                               Spirometry, 1996 update. Respiratory Care, 41 (7), 629-636.   

         ii. Bronchoscopy Assisting

                        American Association for Respiratory Care. (2007). AARC clinical practice guideline: 
                               Fiberoptic bronchoscopy assisting. Respiratory Care. 52, 74-80.

2. Research assignment - practice exercise 2

   A. Go to CINAHL with Full Text listed under Health in the Subject List of Databases

   B. Use CINAHL Headings to find the heading for COPD

   C. Mark the check box to explode the term

   D. Select among the subheadings - Drug Therapy and Therapy

   E. Click search

   F. Refine your search  in Advanced by entering the term 

3. Search respiratory care journals below with specific terms that describe a lung disorder or therapy. Some terms that could be used include Dyspnea, CPED (cardiopulmonary exercise testing), IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), and PEEP (positive end expiratory pressure).

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


RT: The Journal for Respiratory Care Practitioners


Respiratory Care



Tips to develop effective search arguments

Assemble components of an effective research question by using a PICO framework as described in the Introduction to this research quest.

Use a generous number of keywords and subject terms by exploring subject trees with medical terms in a database such as CINAHL with Full Text . A CINAHL Terms tool can be used to view terms in a tree structure. (Mark Explode term to display the tree).  

Use the following to connect the terms in your search question. AND narrows the search results of a combination of more than one subject/keyword. OR broadens the research results of a combination of more than one subject/keyword. NOT eliminates from results the keyword/subject not desired.

Test yourself to determine whether you know which publications in the respiratory field contain research articles and the criteria that must be met for articles to conform to the "evidence-based" standard.

1. Which of these journals report research in the field of respiratory therapy?

     A. Respiratory Therapy

     B. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

     C. Both A and B.

2. Which journal publishes practice guidelines recommended by American Association of Respiratory Care?

     A. Chest

     B. Respiratory Therapy

     C. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

3. How do you know if research findings reported in one of these journals are valid?

     A. The research paper discusses the methodology and procedures that led to the findings reported

     B. The authors who completed the research were required to submit the paper for review by the journal's experts

     C. Responses from readers following publication of the research are published in subsequent issues of the journal

     D. All of the above

     E. Only A and B above


Recap of Research Resources  

You will find it helpful to open an account in CINAHL with Full Text or PubMed. There is no cost. You can save search arguments in your personal accounts and run or revise the searches when you are on the database again. Finding information online involves navigating to some pages from the Rock Valley College Library. These include:
     Library Homepage
     Library Databases
     Journal Search in Primo Library Catalog

Help is available by email or by phone 815.921.4619 or in person at the Library Reference Desk.    

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