Nursing Resources

Library Resources for the UVA School of Nursing

Library Resources for the School of Nursing


Due to costs and the availability of free alternative citation managers, the University will be ending its subscription to RefWorks, effective August 31, 2019.  The ability to create new RefWorks accounts has been disabled.  I am recommending that you use Zotero, which is a free citation manager developed at George Mason University.  An introduction to Zotero and step-by-step instructions on how to export citations in your RefWorks account to Zotero can be found below in my section on Citation Managers. Please let me know if you need any assistance.

Core Databases

Other Databases and Resources

Other Research Tools

Guide to Building Your Research Skills


  • Tools that you must have before you start with your research include a PubMed My NCBI account (, and a Zotero account (  A My NCBI account will allow you to customize your PubMed experience and Zotero will allow you to manage your citations.
  • Once you have a My NCBI account, find the customization link and customize your PubMed search experience so you have highlighting, and customize your search display so it displays 50 records per page, sorts by Best Match, and displays abstracts.
  • Download Zotero 5.0 to your computer, and install the Browser Connector.  After installation, create a Collection for your research project.
  • You might also find this video helpful (  It provides a great explanation of how to do a literature review.

Once you have the above tools, you can now begin the research process.  Let’s say you are researching barriers that reduce uptake of the HPV vaccine in rural communities.  A very simple way of searching this topic is linking the four concepts with the Boolean operator AND.  Here’s what the simple search would look like: barriers AND uptake AND HPV vaccine AND rural communities. (Please copy and paste that search into PubMed.)  The search should retrieve about 6 citations.  As you look through the citations you will see that they are on topic; however, normally you would need more than six citations, so you will need to revise your search.

To retrieve more citations, you either need to reduce the number of concepts or add to the concepts related terminology by using the OR Boolean operator.  Let’s start by reducing a concept.  Of the four concepts, barriers, uptake, HPV vaccine, and rural communities, either barriers or uptake could be removed.  Let’s remove uptake and rerun the search in PubMed.  We now have 18 citations, which is a much better number to work with.

While in PubMed, look at the right-side column of the page for Search Details, and click on See more … 

Figure 1


Look carefully at the search details and you will see how PubMed interpreted your search.  Note the words in brackets, either [All Fields] or [MeSH Terms].  [All Fields] means that PubMed searched those terms in all fields of the citation (e.g. title, author, author affiliation, and abstract).  You can leave [All Fields] or you can change [All Fields] to [TIAB].  [TIAB] searches only in the title and abstract fields. 

MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) is a very important element of your search, as it broadens the concept to include different ways to describe your concept.

When you are happy with your PubMed search, use the Zotero Browser Connector to export the citations to Zotero.


Searching CINAHL

Copy your PubMed search (minus [All Fields] and [MeSH Terms] tags) and go to the CINAHL database.  In CINAHL, you have three ways to search.  The most simple way is to paste your PubMed search into the Basic Search option.  Basic Search can be found underneath the Advanced Search fields.



Your CINAHL Basic Search should retrieve about eight citations.  Unlike PubMed, CINAHL indexes non-peer reviewed literature, so to limit your search to peer reviewed articles, click on Academic Journals on the left side of the page.


The other way to search CINAHL is using the Advanced Search.  Advanced Search requires you to search one concept at a time – resist filling in the three search fields that are provided.  When you enter a concept, CINAHL will present you with a list of potential subject headings.  Check any relevant subject headings and check the search keyword option at the bottom of the list, and then click on Search Database.  Do that for each of your concepts.


Once you have searched for subject headings for each of your concepts, you can now combine the concepts manually using the AND operator.


In this case, you retrieve the same set of citations; however, it’s a more structured search and more similar to PubMed, as it applies subject headings to your concepts.

Use your Zotero Browser Connector to export all items to Zotero.

Next, copy and paste your search into Web of Science or another database listed on my page.  At this point, you are just searching keywords and you don’t need to find subject headings.  Use the Zotero Browser Connector to export the citations into Zotero.

Depending on your topic and the assignment, you might also want to search grey literature (anything not published in journals) by doing a Site search in Google.  My grey literature search in Google might look like this: barriers AND HPV vaccine AND rural communities  Typing after my search retrieves content only from .org sites. I would then re-run the search using and then in place of  I might also search in or the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality for additional grey literature.

Once you have exported all your citations to Zotero, please follow these steps:

1.     Merge together all duplicates

2.     Exclude all citations that aren’t relevant to your search

3.     Use Zotero to help you write your paper.  Zotero will format intext citations and will generate a bibliography.

See the box below for more detailed information about using Zotero.

I am here to help navigate you through the research process.  Above is a simplified approach to searching which is designed to give you a foundation for developing your searching skills.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Citation Managers

A citation manager is designed to provide you a space to file and manage your citations and other content, such as websites and pdfs.  Citation managers also interfact with Word or Google Docs to facilitate intext citations and bibliographies.

My recommendation is that you use Zotero to manage your citations.  Zotero is free; however, it has limited storage space (300MB), which can be managed provided that you don't store lot of pdf.

See Maggie Nunley's Intro to Zotero link below.

To export citations from RefWorks to Zotero, download the instructions linked below.

Please let me know if you need assistance.

Create Search Alerts

Where to Publish

Check these sources to find the best match for an article you want to get published.

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

  • 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

  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR) tool for determining Impact Factor of a journal

Intro to JRC (3 min video)

What is Open Access? (8 min. video)

How to determine if journal is peer reviewed

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

What is the peer review process?

How to determine Journal Impact Factor and impact of article

An article that has been cited by other authors has greater impact than other less-cited articles.  Keep in mind, that current articles will be cited by fewer authors.

  • Journal Citation Reports tool for determining Impact Factor of a journal
  • Web of Science For articles, check Times Cited for number of times article was cited by articles in Web of Science.  Check Usage Count for number of times article was downloaded or exported to citation manager.
  • Google Scholar for articles, check Cited By for number of times article was cited by anything accessed by Scholar
  • Altmetric Bookmarklet tool for determining influence or interest in a journal article
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