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Nursing Library Orientation

Article Databases

You will likely be searching for a lot of research articles and related while you are a student. You will be doing this by search the Library's research databases. Though the databases are not complicated to use, they can be a bit intimidating and confusing at first. With a bit of practice (and some library instruction) you can learn to find quality research articles and other information. This page will help get you started.

Article Databases

"Database" is one of those library words that has a meaning that might not be readily apparent. Basically, a library database is searchable collection or index of--for our needs right now--published article citations. TUN's database collection contains articles, ebooks (see the Books tab), and health information on topics like drugs, clinical diagnosis, and patient care (since TUN is a medical school). 

Databases are more powerful than basic Google and databases are focused on high-quality sources. So, while Google might seem easier, article databases will provide better results that are much easier to sort through and find what you need. Also, the databases will often provide access to free, full-text articles, whereas Google might point you to websites where you are expected to pay to see an article.

As a student looking for relevant, high-quality articles you will most likely want to start with a database. You can, for example, select an education-focused database and easily set your search for articles that match a specific set of search words and search parameters; that is not easy in Google.

The Library Databases page can be found from the library's homepage. You can click the link for Library Databases on the left hand navigation, or click the Databases tab in the middle of the page. When using the middle tab you can search for databases by database name, subject area, or academic program.

screenshot of quicklinks

If you go to the Library Databases page you might feel a bit overwhelmed. The library subscribes to a wide selection of databases. One way to narrow your choices is to select Nursing in the drop-down box next to Select Program. That list is still a bit long, so below are some of the best options for Nursing students, with CINAHL being an excellent choice to start with for finding research articles.

Once you have chosen a database you can start to search for articles. We will use ERIC as an example. 

When you open ERIC from the Library Databases page (remember, if you are off-campus you will need to log in with your remote access credentials), you will see the advanced search screen. You can add your search terms (keywords) to the text boxes, and below you can refine your search parameters. Most likely, this will be the Peer Reviewed and Date Published options.

Screenshot of EBSCOhost interface

Once you have typed your keywords and selected (if any) search options, click Search to see your search results. You can further narrow down your results by using the limiters on the left side of the results page. You can also mouse over the small icon with the magnifying glass and paper to see an article's abstract along with other quick details about a citation.

If you see PDF Full Text below a citation, the full article is available in CINAHL. Click that link to open the article in PDF format, and you can then download/print the article.

If, instead, you see Check Article Linker for more information the article is not in CINAHL. Clicking that link will either take you to the full text of the article in a different database, or it will tell you the article is not available in the TUN library. That page will provide a link the library's Interlibrary Loan Request form, where you can request the article; see the Services tab for more information on Interlibrary Loan.

CINAHL allows you to easily export citations into TUN's preferred citation management software, RefWorks. With a citation open click the Export button. (Note, that Cite gives a simple sample citation of that article.) After clicking Export, make sure Direct Export to RefWorks is selected and then click Save