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Information Resources for Nursing 4010/3210



Welcome to the APSU Library!  The following information is intended to assist you in determining what your information needs are,  finding the information that you need, and evaluating the information you find. Links to various library services are provided throughout this document.  A table at the end provides links to resources covered here, plus additional helpful information.  Follow each link to explore a resource or service further.  Librarians are available to assist you in the Library; you can also request assistance via email, chat, or telephone through the Ask A Librarian service.

Information Needs

The first question you need to ask yourself is "What types of information do I need for my research project/paper?"  You have access to many types and formats of information through the APSU Library.  You may have done library "research" for other classes you have taken at APSU or other schools.  You probably had to find a certain number of articles, books, and/or web resources for your paper or project. 

Much of your previous research was probably done in conjunction with writing a paper that was intended to inform or analyze a particular topic.  Professor Thompson requires you to find Nursing research studies to use in your Utilization Project.  NOTE:. Research studies are most often reported in journal articles.  So, how and where do you find these research studies?  The APSU Library is the place to start.

What does APSU Library have available?

A good way to think of the APSU Library is as an information portal.  The Library's website is a bridge to vast amounts of information both inside and outside APSU.  Use the Library's website at to find out what is available. The Library owns or provides access to a wide variety of materials.  Here's a quick overview.

Austin lists items (print or electronic books, videos, selected government publications, websites and other materials) that are available both physically in the Library and items that you have access to through the Library.

Use Find Periodicals to determine if the Library owns a specific journal title.  Be sure to check out the Browse Periodicals by Subject feature which provides a listing of all Nursing journals accessible through the APSU Library - check under the Subject: Health Sciences.  This list also lets you know what databases index a particular journal title.

Use a Library-owned database to find specific articles.   The Library subscribes to a number of general and specialized databases that provide you with bibliographic citations to resources, and in some cases the full-text of the resource.  

Subject pages
(arranged by discipline) have been developed so that many of the information resources for a particular discipline are grouped together in one place.  Now that we have determined that the place to look for information is the Library, we need to find out how we find the needed information.


You are going to find the information that you need for Professor Thompson's class in Nursing research journals.  These journals are going to be indexed in various subject databases.  Databases index a variety of information including articles, book chapters, book reviews, letters, retractions, editorials, and others.  Some databases you will use contain only bibliographic citations, some include an abstract, and others include the full text of a resource. 

Databases are produced by many different vendors and each vendor has their own search software.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a uniform search platform?  The search protocols mentioned below will help you to search each database effectively regardless of the vendor.

Many database vendors provide abstracts for many of the publications they index.  Be sure to read them carefully.  They can save you a lot time.  An article may seem to be perfect from the title, but may discuss something irrelevant to your topic.  The abstract helps you determine if the publication is meaningful to your research topic. The abstract is NO substitute for consulting the complete article or study.

As an APSU student you have access to databases available through the APSU Library both on campus and off-campus via remote access.  Consult the Remote Access to APSU Databases guide for assistance.

TIP: Although other related databases may be found on the Nursing Resources Subject Page, Nursing & Allied Health Collections, should provide you with the Nursing research studies you need for Nursing 4010.  You will find more information about Nursing & Allied Health Collections further below.  First, here are some tips on how to search for information that help in any database.

Searching for information

You will find the following search protocols useful when searching for any kind of information.

  • Start with a specific topic.  Broaden or narrow it as necessary.  For example you might begin your search by searching for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  Depending on your results you may need to broaden your search to Lung Diseases or narrow it to Pulmonary Emphysema.

  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to help construct your search strategy.  Boolean operators assist you in combining search concepts and defining your searches. The AND operator narrows your search.  The OR operator broadens your search. The NOT operator excludes information from your search. Examples:   Mediterranean Diet AND Longevity would retrieve information about the Mediterranean diet and length of life. Physical Endurance OR Exercise Tolerance would retrieve information about either  topic. Anemia NOT aplastic would exclude information about aplastic anemia, but include information about other forms of anemia

  • Limit by format and material type when searching databases.  Many databases allow you limit your searches by material type and format such as journal articles, refereed publications, research, literature reviews, and many others.  Check in each database you use to see how to limit by publication type and format.

  • Use the references at the end of an article or book chapter to find other resources.  The references used by someone else in their research are extremely valuable to you.  By consulting those resources, you may find information that you may not have know about and that will improve your research.  

  • Check subject terms assigned to an article to see if there are more accurate or specific terms for your topic.  Whenever you search a catalog or database, always look at the subject terms that have been assigned to the resource.  You may find a better or more accurate subject term for your topic and improve your research.

  • If you are having trouble finding information about your topic, think of other terms to describe your topic.  Example: another way to describe stomach stapling is gastric bypass

  • If the database that you are searching uses a controlled vocabulary or thesaurus, use it!  Your search will be much more accurate than if you use keywords.  By using the thesaurus in a database, you are using the language used by the indexers and abstractors.  Note: For new concepts or buzz words, you may have to use keyword searching because the new terms may not have made it into the controlled vocabulary of the discipline.  Also, if you are having no luck using the thesaurus in particular database, you may want to perform a keyword search and check the subject headings or descriptors used for a relevant article.

Specialized Databases

Nursing & Allied Health Collections consists of the following four databases.  

    Nursing & Allied Health Collection: Comprehensive is designed for nursing and allied health professionals, students, educators and researchers. This database provides full text for nearly 400 journals covering the areas of nursing, biomedicine, health sciences, consumer health and allied health disciplines. Nearly all full text titles included in Nursing & Allied Health: Comprehensive Edition are indexed in CINAHL.

    CINAHL is the authoritative resource for nursing and allied health professionals, students, educators and researchers. This database provides indexing for over 1,700 current nursing and allied health journals and publications dating back to 1982, totaling over 961,000 records.

    Clinical Pharmacology contains current, concise and clinically-relevant drug monographs for all U.S. prescription drugs, hard-to-find herbal and nutritional supplements, over-the-counter products and new and investigational drugs. Clinical Pharmacology is made up of Drug Monograph and Patient Education Records. 

    Pre-CINAHL, a companion database to CINAHL, is intended to provide current awareness of new journal articles, and includes a rotating file of limited bibliographic information (no subject searching), which are available to researchers only for the time when these articles are being assigned additional indexing.

Search tips: 

  • Select the database(s) to search. Nursing & Allied Health Collection:Comprehensive and CINAHL are selected by default

  • Nursing & Allied Health Collections defaults to the Basic Search, but experienced searchers will prefer the Advanced Search capabilities. Like Google, the Basic Search has a single text entry box and performs a keyword search on the term(s) entered. With the Advanced Search, there are 3 search entry text boxes, user selectable fields to search on, and the ability to perform Boolean searches.

  • The Basic Search and Advanced Search have different limiting options depending on which database(s) are selected. With the Basic Search, only the limiters that are common to the selected databases are presented. The Advanced Search presents the limiting options for all selected databases.

  • For more information on searching the Nursing & Allied Health Collections databases click the Search Tips link within the database.

Does the APSU Library have the periodical I need? 

The easiest way to determine if the APSU Library has the journal you need is to use the Find Periodicals link found under Austin Catalog on the Library Website.  If you have identified an article in a periodical database, be sure to use the Search for full text link found under the article citation.  This takes you to the Article Linker software which directs you to a periodical that is accessible electronically or available physically in print.  Article Linker also lets you know if the periodical is not available locally, in which case you can request it through Interlibrary Loan - see below.

Evaluation of Information

Material that you find in Austin has been selected for the APSU Library by librarians and subject faculty using formal selection criteria and professional reviews.  Resources indexed in subject databases ( Nursing & Allied Health Collections, Health & Wellness, PsycINFO,  and others) have met certain criteria set forth by the database publishers, including subjects covered, publication type, and others. You will have to evaluate this information further to determine if it is appropriate for your research purposes. There are various criteria to assist you in evaluating materials for your research project. Here are some links that will help you to evaluate journal articles and books.

How to Evaluate Journal Articles

How to Evaluate Books


Most of you are aware that there is some very good information, some very bad information and much in between available on the Internet.  How do you tell which is which?  As with all information that you examine for your research, you must evaluate its usefulness and relevance to your particular project. You must ask yourself questions such as who is responsible for this website?  Are they an expert in the field? Is this information relevant to my research?  Is sponsor of this website a commercial entity or an educational institution or an organization or what?  Is the information current?  Can the information be verified in other sources?  Here are a several links that will help you to evaluate websites.  

How to Evaluate a Web Page

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

Evaluating Web Sites

Interlibrary Loan

You may need some resources for your project that the Library does not own.  If that is the case, you need to use the Library's interlibrary loan service (ILL).  We can borrow materials that you need from other libraries worldwide.  Just fill out the online ILL form and submit it electronically. Some of you may request dissertations or theses that you find in the databases mentioned above.  Many times these documents are only available from the institution which granted the degree and can be hard to borrow through ILL.  That said, please don't hesitate to submit the request.  We may be able to borrow it.  The most important thing to remember about ILL is to plan ahead!  While we have the technology to receive articles via the internet, we still use regular (snail) mail for books and other resources.  Not all libraries that we borrow from have the technology to send articles via the internet and still use regular mail.  Plan ahead.

Citing Sources

Once you select the sources to use in your research project/paper, you will need to put them in some type of order and format.  Professor Thompson will tell you which style she wants you to use for this class.  The Library has a guide that will help with style, Online Style Guides.


There is help available to you in a variety of ways.  The Ask A Librarian service provides help via email, chat or via telephone.  Please don't spend hours looking for something and get frustrated.  Ask for help.  That's why the Library is here.  


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Last Updated: 30-Jul-2013 | Questions or comments to