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NUR 3165 - Nursing Research: Practice 2

This Libguide is designed to help UCF Nursing students enrolled in NUR3165 identify, understand, and effectively use relevant electronic sources, including eBooks and article databases.

Finding CINAHL and other nursing databases

How do I log into CINAHL and the other nursing databases?

From the UCF Library homepage , click on the Databases button underneath the main search box.

Wait for the database menu to load, then use the dropdown menus to limit to Health, Medicine &Nursing. Then select Nursing

This will bring up the most commonly used nursing databases

Find and click on CINAHL Plus With Full Text (should be at the top of the list).

Click 'Sign On' and type in your NID and NID password at the prompt. You should see the “Successfully logged in” text now.

Presto! The CINAHL advanced search screen should appear.

A note about the Nursing Research subject heading

Keep in mind that typing nursing research in one of the search boxes and change the field to ‘Subject’ will not retrieve nursing research studies.

Using the "Research, Nursing" subject heading finds articles with general information on the scope or conduct of nursing research rather than research studies on a specific nursing topic.

While this subject heading isn't a good choice for finding quantitative research articles, it is helpful when searching for articles ABOUT the nursing research process to support your Discussion Board postings. See below for a video and slideshow on how to look for articles on the topic of nursing research. 


Practice Exercise 2 - Part A (Finding Nursing Research Articles in CINAHL)

Part A - Find a nursing research article related to prostate cancer screening in CINAHL using Subject Headings and other limiters.

From the CINAHL Advanced Search screen, type prostate cancer in the first box.

Check the Suggest Subject Terms box. (If you don't see the Suggest Subject Terms box, click on CINAHL Headings in the upper left hand corner and put the term in the Browse for box. Using a database thesaurus will help you find the most precise term for a particular word. Each article record in CINAHL is tagged with specific Subject Headings that may stand for other terms.)

Click Search. The CINAHL Headings screen should appear. Look on the first line.

1. Which of the following is the correct subject heading for prostate cancer?

                  a. Prostate cancer      c. Prostatic Neoplasms

b. Prostatic tumors 

     d. Prostatic Cancer 

Check the box next to Prostatic Neoplasms. On the right hand side, click on Search Database.

The results screen should display. Click on Advanced search (underneath the Search Boxes).

In the second search box, type Screening(Tip: Leaving the field on the right hand side as 'Select A Field' searches for the term in the Title, Abstract, Subject Headings, and Author fields simultaneously)

Scroll down under ‘Limit Your Results’ and check the ‘Peer Reviewed’ box.

Check the box next to ‘Research Article’ to limit to research studies.  (You can also do this by typing research in one of the search boxes and changing the field on the right hand side to PT Publication Type).        


Change the ‘Journal Subset’ to Nursing. (Rationale: this will limit your results to articles published in nursing journals. Please note that there are many articles published in 'nursing journals' that are not written by a nurse. See below in Practice 2-Part B to find out how to limit to articles written by nurses)

Click Search.

You should get approximately 150 results.

Find the article “Barriers and Facilitators of Prostate Cancer Screening Among Filipino Men in Hawaii.” Click on the title (blue hyperlink) to see the article record.

Scroll down to Major Subjects. Notice that Prostatic Neoplasms - Prevention and Control is listed as a subject heading for this article. Also, the term "screening" is listed in a different subject heading. Since we entered each term on separate lines in the advanced search screen, this article was included in the results.

Notice options to print, email, and cite this article (right-hand side panel).


Continue to Part B.

    Practice Exercise 2 Part B - Finding Primary Research Articles Written by a Nurse

CINAHL - Part B  - Finding Primary (Original) Research Studies Written by a Nurse

Now that you have your feet wet, let's explore three methods of possible search strategies for finding primary research articles written by a nurse in CINAHL. Please keep in mind that these strategies are not perfect, so you still need to be attentive when evaluating the results list and read the abstracts/articles.

Method 1 - Limiting to Nurse Authors and Excluding Systematic Reviews  

Continue from the last search. You should see (MH "Prostatic Neoplasms") in the first box and screening in the second line like so:


A)   Click on Advanced Search (directly below the search boxes)
B) Scroll down and (re)check the boxes next to ‘Research Article’, Peer Reviewed, and ‘English Language’, and change the Journal Subset to ‘Nursing’ .
C) Check the box titled 'Any Author is Nurse' (this method is one way to limit results to articles written by a nurse)


Click Search.

2. How many results did you retrieve?

  a. 1 - 25 c. 51 -75
  b. 26-50 d. more than 75


D)  Click on Show More on the left hand side (under Limit To - Publication Date).
E) Uncheck the box titled 'Any Author is Nurse' and click Search.

In the third line, type Nurs* in the box (using the asterisk * at the end of a root word will also search for variations of the term like nurse, nurses, or nursing) and change the field to AF Author Affiliation (this is another way to limit results to articles written by a nurse).

Click Search again.

Notice how the number of results increased. Both methods of limiting to nurse authors work, but the latter may be more effective in many cases. Tip: Try using both methods to cover all the bases and be sure to look at the full text article or PDF to verify the authors' credentials.

G)  Add a row. Then type systematic review on the fourth line. Change the field on the right hand side to PT Publication Type. On the left hand side, change the Boolean operator to NOT. A systematic review is an analysis of previously conducted studies done by other researchers rather than an original research study conducted by the author. This method is a good way to filter out systematic reviews from your results). Important: use the 'PT Publication Type' field instead of 'Select a Field' or 'MW Word in Subject Heading', because systematic reviews refer to a particular type of publication rather than a subject heading.


You should retrieve about 61 results. Go back the article “Barriers and Facilitators of Prostate Cancer Screening Among Filipino Men in Hawaii.” Click on the title (blue hyperlink) to see the article record.

Look at the Affiliation field. Notice that the author is affiliated with a school of nursing (please note that you may also want to see the PDF, as the full text usually contains additional information about the authors). Also, scroll down to the Publication Type Field. This is where you would look to see what type of article you are dealing with. For instance, this article is listed as Research. In many cases, if an article is a systematic review, it would be tagged as such in this field. Remember that there may be systematic reviews in CINAHL that are not tagged yet in the publication type field, so always make sure to read the abstract!

Review the Journal Subset Field to see if the article is peer reviewed or written in a nursing journal.

In addition, look at the right hand side under tools to see an example citation and also to obtain the Permalink, which is a persistent url that you can cut and paste so that others can follow to the article record.

Click on the ‘New Search’ link in the top left corner when finished.


Method 2 - Limiting to Clinical Trials

Another simple strategy is to search for a particular type of primary research article that in most cases uses a quantitative design: the Clinical Trial.

A)  Start by typing clinical trial in the first search box. Then change the field on the right to PT Publication type. This searches for the term Clinical Trial in the Publication Type field.
B) Add a keyword related to a symptom, patient population, or nursing intervention in the second box. In this case, type exercis* and women (keep in mind that you could also leave it blank to browse for articles).
C) Scroll down and check the boxes next to ‘Research Article’, Peer Reviewed, and ‘English Language’, and change the Journal Subset to ‘Nursing’ .
D) In the third line, type Nurs* in the box (using the asterisk * at the end of a root word will also search for variations of the term like nurse, nurses, or nursing) and change the field to AF Author Affiliation

Click Search.

Note: As with all of the other methods, make sure to scan the article record and read the abstract to make sure that you are dealing with a primary research study and not an unwanted article type like a systematic review or an educational/informational article.

Your should retrieve about 45 results. Click on the title “Influence of Exercise on Mood in Postmenopausal Women.”

3. In which year, volume, and issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing​ is this article found?


             a. 2011, Volume 19, Issue 9          c. 2012, Volume 21, Issue 7/8
  b. 2013, Volume 17, Issue 1         d. 2010, Volume 59, Issue 1


Click on the Full Text button  on the left hand side to see if the full text is available in another database.

4. Which of the following is one of the databases provides the full text for this article?

             a. Academic OneFile       c. PsycInfo
  b. Synergy       d. Wiley Online Library

 Remember: Sometimes when you click on a database listed in SFX (Get Full Text) to retrieve a full-text article, it doesn’t work. If this happens, go to the UCF Libraries homepage and select Online Journals. Then search for the journal title (i.e. - Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing) and try the different options listed under Full Text Sources to find a database with the full text.  You may have to browse by year, volume, issue, and page numbers to locate the specific article. If that doesn't work or if you get stuck, please contact me or the Ask-A-Librarian service for further assistance.

Close out the full text and return to CINAHL (it may be in a different window). Then click on the ‘New Search’ link in the top left corner when finished.


Method 3 - Using Clinical Queries

Having trouble finding articles for the Research Synthesis Project?

Try using the some of the Clinical Queries options in CINAHL Advanced Search. The Clinical Queries limiter is found below the advanced search screen in the 'Limit your results' section:

For instance, if your PICO statement is related to Therapy, try highlighting some of the options related to therapy as above. High Sensitivity is the broadest search, to include ALL relevant material, but may also include less relevant materials. High Specificity is the most targeted search and includes only the most relevant result set, but may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity. As you can see, you can select more than one by holding down the Shift key.

 Let's Practice!


Type Compression Stockings OR Compression Garments (both terms connected by OR) in the First line. This searches for articles that include either term.
B) As before, scroll down below the Advanced Search Screen under 'Limit Your Results'. Check the boxes next to ‘Research Article’, English Language, and ‘Peer-Reviewed’.
C) Scroll down to Clinical Queries. Select all three of the therapy options as illustrated above.


Click Search. You should retrieve between 500 - 550 results. If you limit to nurse authors in the second line by nurs* in AF Author Affiliation, you should go down to approximately 63 results. 

Be aware that you may get a number of systematic reviews. Although systematic reviews won’t qualify for the Research Synthesis Project (Project III), some of them may contain citations of studies in the References section that might work. Again, you can weed them out as in Method 1 and always read the abstract!

Answers for Practice Exercise 2