Nursing Resources

School of Nursing Resources

Searching for and Appraising Evidence

Looking for more information about how to search a specific database? Check out our database tutorials.

Learning How to Search for Evidence

Where to search?

First consider what type of information could answer your question. 

If you're looking for background information on a topic, consider some of these sources, including our library catalog, Virgo

If you need peer-reviewed journal articles on a specific topic, choose databases with appropriate coverage for your topic. 

Visit our page for resources on the history of nursing

Basic Principles of Database Searching

How to Obtain Full-Text Articles

Database searches provide bibliographic citations - information about articles, such as their titles, abstracts, author names, etc. Sometimes, the full text of an article is also available because we subscribe to the journal that the article is contained in. 

Consider installing the LibKey Nomad extension on your browser. This extension makes it easy to obtain PDFs of full-text articles in one click, although it won't work with all databases. Review the "Connecting from Off-Grounds" page for more information about LibKey Nomad and other extensions that will help discover full-text PDFs. 

If we don't have a subscription for the journal your article was published in, we can get a PDF of the article for you via interlibrary loan


Point-of-Care Resources

Point-of-care resources provide answers based on the best available evidence at your fingertips. These resources can also be useful to explore background questions on a topic. 


This list includes our most-used databases for performing literature searches and finding articles on nursing topics. 

Gray Literature

What is gray literature?

Gray literature is any informational resource that exists outside of commercial publishing. 

Gray literature may include sources such as ongoing clinical trials, governmental research, conference abstracts and proceedings, dissertations, theses, and more. 

Where should I search for gray literature?

The answer depends on your research question and the type of evidence that could help answer it. 

Google Scholar and our pre-filtered Google search limiting results to .gov, .edu, & .org sites are good places to start. 

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) guide to gray literature provides links to many other suggested sources for gray literature. 

Resources for Finding Clinical Practice Guidelines

PubMed and CINAHL can be searched for guidelines that were published in journal articles.

PubMed: Run your search, then select "guideline" under "additional filters." You may need to refresh your results to apply the filter after clicking "show."

CINAHL: Run your search, then choose "show more" under "limit to" menu on the left side of the screen. Under "publication type" choose "practice guideline."

Consider also searching sites of professional organizations (for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics) or national non-profit organizations such as the American Heart Associations. 

Levels of Evidence (Evidence Based Practice (EBP) Research)

The levels of evidence pyramid provides a way to visualize both the quality of evidence and the amount of evidence available. Evidence is broken down into three categories: Critical Appraisal (filtered), Experimental & Observational Studies (unfiltered), and Background Information.  As you go down the pyramid, the amount of evidence increases as the quality of the evidence decreases.

Business, Education, Academic, and Other Health Databases

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