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Accessing & Managing Health Related Information

Create a RefWorks and ILLiad account before you begin your research.

  1. Create a RefWorks account to manage your citations. (See RefWorks training videos to learn how to use RefWorks.)  

  2. Create an ILLiad account for ordering articles not available in UVA collections. The Health Sciences Library subsidizes all costs and articles are sent to you via email.

Below are your core databases.  Use OVID MEDLINE and CINAHL to determine subject headings and keywords.  Once you build your search terms, move on to Web of Science and PsychINFO.

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

  2. CINAHL search the nursing and allied health literature. (Coverage: over 3,000 journal titles back to 1981.)  Search any dissertations you find by title in Dissertations and Theses.
  3. PsycINFO  find articles related to the psychological aspects of nursing.  Search any dissertations you find by title in Dissertations and Theses

  4. Web of Science  large database of journals in the sciences and social sciences.  (Coverage: over 8,000 journal titles back to 1970.)

Check Cochrane and JBI to see if there are any  Systematic Reviews (best available research) on your topic:

Note: Another way to find Systematic Reviews is to search OVID MEDLINE and CINAHL limiting your results to the Publication Type, Systematic Review.

The  databases listed above search for results in the Title, Author, Subject, and Abastract fields.  To search the text of articles, try Google Scholar and ScienceDirect.  

  • Google Scholar find articles from online scholarly journals, books, and web sites.  Select Preferences and turn on link to RefWorks.

  • ScienceDirect full text of articles from most journals and some book series published by Elsevier Science

Gray Literature (reports and other documents that are unpublished)

Sometimes you may need to supplement the databases above with one of these 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. 


  • Micromedex collection of databases with evidence based information about drugs, alternative medicine, toxicology, and reproductive risks

  • Natural Standard (now Natural Medicines) provides evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies

Education & Training

  • ERIC access to more than 1.4 million bibliographic records of journal articles, most of which are peer-reviewed, and other education-related materials 

  • Education Research Complete Large database covering journal articles, conference papers and some books on all aspects of education including multilingual education, health education, testing, curriculum, administration, policy, funding, and related social issues



  • Factiva company and business information from Dow Jones; current content for over 6,000 newspapers and periodicals 

  • New York Times 1851 to 2011

Public Policy

  • PAIS international database for public and social policy

  • Government Documents lists all types of publications from US government agencies that are issued by the Government Printing Office


Textbook and background information on your topic.  

  • AccessMedicine from McGraw-Hill Medical is an online resource that provides access to more than 75 medical titles

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

  • STAT!Ref online access to 10 medical textbooks, including Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy

To locate clinical information, try UpToDate and First Consult in ClinicalKey:

  • ClinicalKey search your topic using the First Consult limit under the All tab.

  • UpToDate is a physician-authored clinical decision support resource


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

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

Tests and Measurements Databases

  • 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

  • Mental Measurments Yearbook Information about and reviews of all English-language standardized tests -- educational skills, personality, vocational aptitude, psychology, and related areas

  • Information about tests and measurements can also be found by searching CINAHL and MEDLINE 

CINAHL: Select Questionnaire/Scale and/or Research Instrument from the "Publication Type" box in the "limit" section

OVID MEDLINE: Useful MESH headings include Questionnaires and Psychological Tests

Consumer Health

  • Health Source: Consumer Edition magazines, pamphlets and reference books covering a wide range of health topics. Includes a drug guide and a medical dictionary

  • Consumer Health Complete Medical dictionaries and encyclopedias, image and video collections and works on specific health and wellness topics

  • MedlinePlus produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues 

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 jounrals, 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


Evidence Based Practice Resources (critically appraised literature)

  • 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

  • Nursing Procedures & Skills (Lippincott) contains evidence-based procedures in all major clinical areas

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

  • CINAHL search the nursing and allied health literature (Use Evidence Based Practice limit and Publication Type: Meta Analysis and Systematic Reviews)

  • OVID MEDLINE (limit Publication Type: Meta Analysis, Guideline, and Systematic Reviews)

  • ClinicalKey search your topic using the First Consult limit under the All tab.

  • UpToDate is a physician-authored clinical decision support resource

  • Micromedex collection of databases with evidence based information about drugs, alternative medicine, toxicology, and reproductive risks

  • Natural Standard provides evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies

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

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

Where to Publish / Is it Peer Reviewed?