Nursing: Find the evidence (Journal articles)

Journals and journal articles

[mgsloan, 'Stylized Computer', CC Licence: CC0 1.0, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library]Journals are the primary medium for scholarly communication and account for a large percentage of university research output. They:

  • provide highly focused information
  • can be the best source of the latest material on a topic
  • can sometimes be one of the few (or only) sources of scholarly information on a topic

Journals are generally published on a regular basis (e.g. issues are released monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly etc.). They consist of a collection of articles, just as books consist of chapters. Journals are also called serials, magazines, and periodicals.

Remember to evaluate! Just as with books, there are different types of of journals. Not all journals are suitable for your assignments.

UniSA Library provides online access to hundreds of journals relating to nursing and midwifery.

Facts and Myths [Source: purchased from Dollar photo club,]Library databases are search tools (large indexes) that help you find evidence based literature in journal articles, conference papers, reports, book chapters and more. They can be discipline specific (such as CINAHL or MEDLINE), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus).

Scholarly references are best found in databases.

Some key databases include:

  1. &lsquo, 3D Character and Question Mark, 18 July 2008, CC License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0[(], Image Source: flickr,[] Don't know much about the topic area? Do some background reading, for example look in your textbook(s), or a try a relevant book.
  2. Look at the terms used in any key articles found. For example, look at the abstract, subject headings or author supplied keywords. Can you use these terms to further revise your search?
  3. Look at the reference list of any key articles found, these may be relevant.
  4. If you cannot find what you need in one database, try another one.
  5. Change your search. You may need to re-work it by adding another concept to focus it further, or removing a concept to broaden it. Are there any synonyms (similar keywords) you need to add?
  6. Searching for evidence takes time and practice. You may need to revise your search several times before you find what you need.

Scholarly Sources Explained

Grey Literature

Link to Grey Literature <image, public domain>

Find sources of unpublished & non-traditional scholarly materials: 'Grey literature'

How to search databases

Shows you how to search CINAHL. [Watch low quality version of video]

Shows how to apply your search in Scopus. [Watch low quality version of video]

Shows how to apply your search to Academic Search Premier (via EbscoHost) and Scopus. [Watch low quality version of video]