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Nursing Graduate Student Library Research Guide - RUL: Journal articles

Information to support graduate students as they become proficient users of library resources and services

Database suggestions

CINAHL - Provides comprehensive coverage of both the practical and theoretical literature in nursing from 1981 to the present.  Includes indexing from over 500 nursing journals.  Updated weekly.

EBSCO, producer of CINAHL, maintains a YouTube channel with tutorials on using the databases.  See if there is something to answer your questions.  The tutorials are usually a few minutes in length.

A tutorial from EBSCO on using the advanced search option in CINAHL.

Text support from EBSCO on maximizing the options offered by CINAHL.


Dissertations and Theses  ( - Includes records for U.S. dissertations from 1861 and foreign dissertations beginning in the year 1637.  Titles available as native or image PDF formats include free twenty-four page previews. For titles that are available full text from ProQuest, an "Order a Copy" link provides information about ordering options.  Rutgers users have free access to the full text (PDF format) of doctoral dissertations completed at Rutgers University since 1997. Dissertations completed for degrees awarded by Rutgers-Newark are available for a week's loan.  Looking for a dissertation submitted to another university?  Try Googling the title.  Many university libraries make the dissertations available in electronic format through their digital repositories.


MedlineFrom the National Library of Medicine, indexes the content of 4,600 biomedical journals.  Includes coverage from 1950 to the present.   Nursing journal subset limits results to citations from 250 titles in nursing.  Equivalent to former print index, International Nursing Index. . Updated daily

Ovid provides a comprehensive 30 minute tutorial on the use of Medline.  There are several sections so feel free to choose what you want from the left sidebar.


PsycINFO  – Provides citations and abstract for the scholarly literature in psychology from 1872 to the present.  Includes indexing from more than 2,000 journals in multiple languages.  Updated weekly.

 Ovid provides a comprehensive 30 minute tutorial on the use of PsycINFO.  There are several sections so feel free to choose what you want from the left sidebar.


ProQuest Social Sciences Premium Collection ProQuest Social Sciences Collection abstracts and indexes over 10,000 titles in the social sciences while also providing access to over 1,800 scholarly journals.  International in scope, content covers education, language and linguistics, sociology, and political science from 1871 to the present.  Updating varies.

ProQuest’s YouTube channel has a brief introduction to using the Advanced Search option on their databases.  This will get you started in using ProQuest Social Sciences Premium Collection.


PubMed - Includes citations to more than 20 million biomedical related journals.  Nursing journal subset may be searched by clicking on Filters in the upper right corner and selecting "Nursing journals" under Subsets.

The National Library Medicine, producer of PubMed, makes available a series of tutorials that cover all aspects of searching, displaying and saving your results.

NLM has just recently released a tutorial designed for nurses who want to use PubMed.  You may find two sections of particular interest.  The "Simple Search" section has a very helpful explanation of PICO and translating the PICO terms into a search strategy.  The section, "Clinical Queries," describes how to search for clinical information only by limiting searches to Systematic Reviews or Clinical Study Categories such as therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, and etiology.


Advanced search techniques

     Database search interfaces are designed to give researchers different options in their search techniques.  Using more advanced search techniques will increase your efficiency since they require more typing and less clicking.

Using truncation

     Truncation symbols accommodate alternate spellings of words (pediatric vs. paediatric) and multiple endings (adolescen: = adolescent or adolescents or adolescence).  Instruction sheets for Ebsco and Ovid databases follow.

Truncation in Ovid databases  (PsycINFO and Medline)             

Truncation in Ebsco databases (CINAHL)

Entering more information into the search box

     When you enter your search, it is possible to use nesting to get more information into the box.  Nesting uses parentheses to direct the search interface where to begin the search.  For example:

     (adolescence or teenagers) and loneliness

The search interface goes to the statement within the parentheses first, creating a big group of items to then combine with loneliness.  You will receive those items that include loneliness and teenagers as well as those items that include loneliness and adolescence.  There is one caution to this technique however.  If you plan to return to any of these terms, you will have to re-enter them separately.

       As you conduct your searches, take a look at the search history.  You can type in the same information that the search interface used to interpret your multiple clicks.  For example, in an Ovid database, if you plan to limit your search results, you can enter "limit (search statement number) to English language" rather than clicking and scrolling on the Limits page.  You can also enter terms as subject headings in an Ovid database by placing a forward slash after the term: dyslexia/.  

Updating an older article with citation searching


          Citation searching offers you the opportunity to update the content of an article by discovering articles by authors who have cited the article in the bibliographies of their own publications.  The assumption is that the later articles discuss the same or closely related ideas to those in the article you have.  While you update the content of the article, you are also finding out how much influence your original article has had on research in the field.

          CINAHL provides a separate tab, "Cited references," where you can search for citing articles for an older publication in nursing.  The tab is the fourth from the left on the blue toolbar on the search screen.  You may enter the cited authro's name, the journal title (source), article title or years or any combination of these terms.  The resulting screen displays all of the articles that fit your criteria.  Click in the box next to the citation you have to select it and then click on "Find citing articles."  The next screen displays the recent articles citing the older one you have.  You may work with these citations as you usually would.  The display includes the citation, abstract, subject headings and full-text options.  You can add citations to your folder for further review, printing, emailing, saving or exporting.

           Many databases supplied by the University Libraries such as PsycINFO and Medline offer casual citation searching.  When you identify an appropriate article during a search, the citation display will include a link on the right to “Find citing articles.”  Other databases may use “cited by,” “citing articles,” “citing documents,” “X articles cite this document,” or a similar variation somewhere in the citation display.

          Web of Science, including Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index, is a comprehensive resource for citation searching.  It has traditionally been considered the most authoritative database for citation searching and currently provides access to citations from 10,000 scholarly journals.  The database offered by the University Libraries dates from 1984 to the present.  (The date refers to the publication date for the citing articles rather than the cited works.)


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