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Before you Begin Your Research

  • Create a RefWorks account to manage your citations.

  • Create an ILLiad account for ordering articles not available in UVA collections. 


Use CINAHL and OVID Medline to determine subject headings and keywords.  Once you build your search terms, move on to Web of Science, Google Scholar, and PsycINFO.

  • OVID MEDLINE (or PubMed*) search biomedical literature from around the world (Coverage: 5,600 journal titles back to 1946)

  • CINAHL search the nursing and allied health literature. (Coverage: over 3,000 journal titles back to 1981.) 

  • PsycINFO  find articles related to the psychological aspects of nursing

  • Web of Science  large database of journals in the sciences and social sciences.  (Coverage: over 12,000 journal titles back to 1970.)

Supplemental Databases

  • Health Source Nursing/Academic Edition scholarly journals and some reference books covering nursing and allied health professions.  There's a good deal of overlap with CINAHL but still worth searching. 

  • Sociological Abstracts  find articles related to the sociological aspects of nursing

  • SportDISCUS international database covering sports medicine, exercise physiology, biomechanics, coaching, and recreation

  • Google Scholar* find articles from online scholarly journals, books, and web sites.  (Select Settings to turn on link to RefWorks and Library Links.)

Gray Literature (unpublished literature)

Textbook and background information


  • Access Medicine note that you can send the image directly to a PowerPoint slide

  • BioImage Search* biomedical images you can use i.e., images with Public Domain & Creative Commons licenses

  • ClinicalKey search your term using the Multimedia limit under the All tab.

Tests and Measurements 

  • PsycTESTS provides access to psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys, and other assessments as well as descriptive information about the test and its development and administration

Evidence Based Practice Resources

  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) database of systematic reviews

  • DARE (Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects) use this in addition to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to find systematic reviews done outside of the Cochrane Collaboration

  • Essential Evidence Plus  evidence-based, point-of-care clinical decision support system that provides access to over 13,000 topics, guidelines, abstracts, and summaries

  • Joanna Briggs Institute  systematic reviews and other types of information

  • PubMed Health* specializes in reviews of clinical effectiveness research, with easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full technical reports

  • Netting the Evidence EBM structured Google search

  • National Guideline Clearinghouse* public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines

  • TRIP* free database that includes access to reports, guidelines, and systematic reviews

Where to Publish / Is it Peer Reviewed?

  • Directory of Nursing Journals* a collective of nursing editors and publishers focused on meeting the research needs of the nursing profession

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)* online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals

  • JANE* (Journal/Author/Name Estimator) enter keywords and JANE will find best matching journals

  • JournalGuide* in addition to searching by journal name, category or publisher, authors can use the title and abstract of a paper to discover journals that have already published articles on similar topics

  • Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory  listings of periodicals from over 200 countries.  Look for refereed icon . to determine peer review status.

Historical Literature

Searching for historical nursing literature can be challenging.  CINAHL can yield results, however, keep in mind that the online CINAHL databases goes back only until 1981.  Therefore, to find earlier articles, search the library's CINAHL print indexes, which are located in the lobby and go back to 1956. Searching VIRGO can also yield results, as will a MEDLINE search, which goes back to 1879 in print (Index Medicus) and online (PubMed or OVID MEDLINE) the late1940s. Historical literature can also be found in the following indexes:

  • JSTOR older issues of scholarly journals, from the start to 3-5 years ago

  • Hathi Trust Digital Library* public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, totaling nearly 11 million titles

  • Google Books* enter topic in search box and then limit by century or date range using Search Tools-->Any time

  • Historical Abstracts articles about the history of the world from 1450 to the present (not about US and Canada)

  • Chronicling America search and view millions of American historic newspapers, published 1836-1922

  • New York Times 1851 to 2011

  • American Civil War: Letters & Diaries contains 2,009 authors and approximately 100,000 pages of diaries, letters and memoirs

  • American Periodicals contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals 

  • American History in Video over 5000 films, commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and documentaries showing historical events and their presentation over time

  • American Memory Project: Library of Congress primary source documents and archives for American history and culture: printed texts, collections of photographs, and some scanned manuscripts on topics such as African-American pamphlets, Civil War photographs, women's suffrage, etc.

  • ProQuest Historic Newspapers & Magazines New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Defender, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post 

  • VIRGO search UVA's collection of books and ebooks combining your topic with History in the Subject field (e.g. polio AND history)

  • Nineteenth Century US Newspapers

  • Virginia Newspapers* Library of Virginia's online newspaper database and repository

* Free resource.  All other resources are purchased by the University of Virginia for use by faculty, staff, and students.