Nursing: Find evidence (Journal articles)

Find evidence (Journal articles)

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

Journals contain collections of articles and are generally published on a regular basis (e.g. issues are released monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly etc.). They can be found via Library databases.

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

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Databases are search tools for finding articles, papers, reports, book chapters and more. Search by topic, author, or in a specific publication. Scholarly references are best found in databases.

Databases can be discipline specific (such as Emcare), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus). Many contain full text material, or the reference and abstract only.

Learn to use the database by working through the following interactive tutorial:

Emcare (via Ovid)  Database includes nearly 5 million records of the scholarly and peer-reviewed literature in nursing and allied health dating back to 1995. Subject coverage are Clinical Medicine, Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacology and Public Health



  Search Emcare Tutorial

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Care Frameworks

<image of a steel frame>Make sure your recommendations meet the specifications outlined in a care framework. Some key ones are linked to below.

Tips for searching

  1. Physicians for Human Rights, ‘PHR-IL's Open Clinic for Migrants and Asylum Seekers’, June 1910, CC License 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)  (, Image source: Flickr ('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.


Databases may look different but how you apply your search strategy to them is often very similar. This video shows you how to search the database Academic Search Premier (via EBSCOhost) and Scopus.

Shows how to apply your search in Scopus. [Low quality version of video available]

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Next steps

Find Book <image, public domain>Need more evidence? Consider searching for books. Click the image to learn how.



Evaluate <Image, public domain>Once you have found the evidence you intend to use for your assignment, you should evaluate it. Click the image to learn how.