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NURS 310: Principles of Nursing Research Library Research Tips: Overview

Professor Marty Highfield; Nursing Librarian Marcia Henry

Goals of library session for HS310:

Find peer reviewed, evidence based, single study research studies on your topic:

  1. End-of-life care (may be related to sudden death, chronic illness, codes, hospice care, etc.)
  2. Palliative care (symptom management such as nausea, fatigue,psychological distress, etc.)
  3. Pain assessment/management (including fetal pain, use of music or humor, etc.)
  4. Spiritual care (may include prayer, how nurses facilitate patient faith, etc)

Learn also how to find an integrated review or systematic review on topic ALSO in addition to the research studies.   Systematic or intergrated review such as Cochrane in which experienced reviewers have reviewed and combined the results of studies on a topic an made recommendations.

It would be helpful also to include
* evidence based practice sheet tab (CINAHLPlus with Fulltext (EbscoHost)

Some background tips on identifying research studies:
Meta-analysis (and it usually indicates this in the title) are VERY high quality research.  Experimental studies are next strongest--these are often called randomized controlled trials.  Correlation studies are next--these are where the researchers are describing what factors are related to the topic.  Descriptive studies are ok and they are a description of the way things are without any experimental treatment.  Meta-synthesis is good too.


  • The library provides Databases by Subject: Nursing    at http://library.calstate.edu/northridge/databases/subject/nursing -  offers a list of  databases recommended for the Nursing.  Professor Highfield especially wants you to become familiar with CINAHLPlus and PubMed ( PubMed is available on the Internet - access to subscription databases CSUN has is limited to the CSUN's link to PubMed) .  Additionally, on the home page and at the top of every Database by Subject page is a link to discovery tool OneSearch which will search over 150 databases and allows you to save records on your own electronic shelf access using your same CSUN email login and password. Additional, we will explore the native interfaces for the following databases.
  • Controlled Vocabularies, Age Groups and Limits in:

    • CINAHLPlus with Full Text (Nursing and Allied Health Literature) on EbscoHost offer CINAHL Headings, the controlled vocabulary CINAHL indexers use to assign subject headings to each record, limits, e.g. age, gender, Evidence Based Care sheets and Cited Reference searching. Remember not all the records have the full text so you will need to use sometimes the Find text icon find text which helps you identify if CSUN subscribes to the journal as well as give help in APA style.
    • PubMed (Medline)- in addition to indexing almost 5000 medical journals, there are links into freely availble Consumer Health (MedlinePlus) resources, several genetic, chemical, full text jurnal and full text book resources. Be sure to use CSUN's link to PubMed which is http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?otool=cacsunlib This URL offers you the Find text icon find text which helps you identify if CSUN subscribes to the journal.
    • Learn about PubMed Advanced search http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/special_queries.html
    • Learn about Medical Subject Headings MeSH MeSH MetaAnalysis
    • COCHRANE (Wiley)- evidence based literature review . Provides bibliographies and the findings of research articles
    • Additional interfaces for MEDLINE are MEDLINE (ISI) and MEDLINE (Ovid)
    • Ovid Journal and Ovid Books - has over 700 full text journals and a growing collection of electronic books mostly Lippincott titles, and the MEDLINE index to medical literature
    • Learn aboutGoogle Scholar at http://scholar.google.com/ is free to you. You can configure so it will work with CSUN's Find Text. However Find Text in Google Scholar is a link labeled SFX. To activate the capabilities for your browser, go to Scholar Preferences:
      1. In the box next to Library Links type "CSUN" and click Find Library.
      2. Check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It)"
      3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Preferences button.

      Click SFX: Additional Options or SFX: Find It for access to online full text, Oviatt Library holdings information, and Interlibrary Loan.

    • Learn about Google Book links using our catalog - Check out the catalog record for

Nursing Databases Descriptions

  • CINAHLPlus with Full Text  Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature indexes several thousand nursing and allied health journals; 780 of them are full text journals, from 1937 to present  Offers evidence based care sheets, includes bibliographies and thereby offers cited references searching for the journals it indexes.
  • Cochrane is a collection of evidence based medical databases, with protocols, controlled trials, and full-text reviews. Access to the full text of the reviews is limited to 1 user at a time.
  • OVIDJournals - with about 25 current journal subscriptions plus hundreds of Walter Kluwer older full text journals, the Ovid journals interface also offers a growing list of Lipponcott nursing books   Ovid nursing books

MEDLINE database indexes 5000 medical and allied health journals.  It's available from several vendors.

  • PUBMED (NLM)  indexes the medical literature including nursing. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant Web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources. PUBMed and the other related databases are  freely available on the Internet so it is important for lifelong research. While you are a student at CSUN, Oviatt find text gives you access to over 52,000 journal subscriptions by using this URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?otool=cacsunlib
  • MEDLINE (OVID) - OVID interface is often available in hospital libraries
  • MEDLINE (ISI) - MEDLINE on ISI may be useful because it works well with Endnote Web


Scholarly Journals (Peer-reviewed/Referreed)

American Journal of Philology cover
  • Authors are authorities in their fields.
  • Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies.
  • Individual issues have little or no advertising.
  • Articles must go through a peer-review or refereed process.
  • Articles are usually reports on scholarly research.
  • Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs.
  • Articles use jargon of the discipline.


OneSearch allows you to search, at this time,  150 databases as well as the Oviatt Library catalog.   Although 150 databases, many indexes (e.g. PubMed, PsycInfo, Physical Education Index, LLBA...), full text databases (e.g. ScienceDirect, Sage Journals, JSTOR, Springer, Taylor & Franics...) are a lot of databases, OneSearch does NOT contain the contents of all our databses yet.  OneSearch does offer a consistent way to save the records you want to keep, and if you view your saved records, on the right there is a "Export to EndNoteWeb" command where you can easily send the bibliographic information on the source you are viewing into your personal (editable) citation management database. 

OneSearch is very useful to look up scholarly article citations (use quick keyword search author surname key words in title, or type in the article Doi if your citation offers a Doi), or do a simple keyword search on topic.   You can identify academic articles easily, often be advised article is "peer reviewed" and see lots of hints on other keywords you can use for your search strategy.

Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video: