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Nursing Resources: Core Databases

Recommended resources for Nursing.

Nursing Resouces at the USC Upstate Library header box

Recommended Databases for Scholarly Articles and Evidence Based Practice

Start with these databases to find scholarly articles and research for evidence-based practice.

  • To learn more about each database, click on the tabs above.


Make use of these helpful limiters:

peer reviewed (article has been reviewed by experts in the field before being accepted for publication)

research (an article that reports the results of a research study which will include the purpose of the study, methodology, and results)

first author is a nurse (remember that this database includes allied health, therefore some articles are written by professionals in fields allied to nursing)

any author is a nurse

in the Document Type Box -- journal article

in the Geographic Subset Box -- USA (searches for journals published in the USA)

*If you are searching for something and not getting any results, try "search within full text of articles."  By default, the computer searches only the citation information, the abstract and the subject headings.  This search looks into the content of the article for your search words.

All text search on Cinahl


Although much of its contents overlap CINAHL Complete, this database indexes some journals not included in CINAHL and has a different selection of full text. Many dissertations are also available in full text.


Use the Advanced Search screen to organize your search and to take advantage of important database limiters.

Nursing and Allied Health Database allows you to limit to Age Group, Source Type, Document Type and Language in the Advanced Search. Use limits to "Scholarly Journal" and "Article" to find articles from peer-reviewed journals. Nursing and Allied Health has no limiter for research articles, so you will need to read the abstracts and examine the article itself to determine what kind of article it is.









The Ovid platform contains five distinct databases, make sure you are on USC Upstate Full Text Nursing & Allied Health Journals@Ovid to search for scholarly journal articles. You can click "Change" to change to any of these other databases:

  • USC Upstate Nursing & Allied Health Books@Ovid,
  • Joanna Briggs Institute Evidence Based Practice Database
  • Ovid's version of MEDLINE
  • Ovid Nursing Database, containing a broader range of journal citations from Ovid and MEDLINE.

Check the "Include related terms" box to find synonyms and related terms to your keywords.

To limit your search to specific types of articles related to evidence-based practice:

  • Choose the Multi-Field Search,
  • Enter your keywords for your topic, arranging them in the search boxes, and selecting the proper connectors (And, Or, Not)
  • Select the Document Type field for the last search box and enter one of the following document types: systematic review, meta analysis, clinical and case study, cohort study, qualitative study, research article.

On the landing page, you can select the document type or subject node you wish to search. You can also browse by subject node.

Note: the PICO search button does NOT search the Joanna Briggs database, but a version of MEDLINE by Ovid.

Landing page of JBI Database

Your search results show up in the Ovid interface.

  • Note you can modify them on the left side.
  • The type of document is specified under the title.
  • Click on the title to see full information about the source.
  • The PDF full text file is linked on the right side.

Results list in Ovid interface.

If you click on Search from the results list, you will still be in the Joanna Briggs database, but in the Ovid interface. Note that you can expand Limiters under the search box.

The Joanna Briggs Institute, based at the University of Adelaide, Australia, collaborates with 70 institutions worldwide to "promote and support the synthesis, transfer and utilization of evidence through identifying feasible, appropriate, meaningful and effective healthcare practices to assist in the improvement of healthcare outcomes globally."


  • Use Boolean connectors in CAPS (AND, OR, NOT) and quotes for exact phrase.
  • Limit to date range.
  • Limit to type of article. Usually you will want Research Article or Review Article (note that review articles are not necessarily systematic reviews).

ScienceDirect no longer lets you limit to a subject area, so try to be as specific as possible with your search terms and analyze your results for the kinds of journals in which articles are published.

MEDLINE is a large citation database of the biomedical journal literature produced by the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Institutes of Health. It contains over 25 million references, most to scholarly journal articles. MEDLINE is the primary component of PubMed, the freely available database provided by the NCBI. MEDLINE Complete is a version produced by EBSCO, using the EBSCO searching interface and providing full-text links for many articles.


Make use of limiters such as "Journal & Citation Subset" set for Nursing and "Subject Subset" set for  Systematic Reviews, as shown below.

In addition to MEDLINE, PubMed contains additional material, notably citations for journals not indexed in MEDLINE, journal articles and manuscripts submitted by publishers to PubMed Central, and books available online through the NCBI Bookshelf.

PubMed itself does not contain the full text of articles. If full text is available in PubMed Central, there will be a link in the results list. Note, too, that the database allows you to refine and sort results. An Advanced Search option is also available.

If articles are not available in full text through PubMed Central, you may be able to find a link to full text in the database record (click on the title from the results list). The link may lead you to freely-available full text on the web, to the article in one of the library's subscription databases if you are on campus or using Spartan GreenSky, or to a publisher's page with information on how to get the article. If not freely available, look up the citation in Journal Search. Notice that the name of the journal in the database record is abbreviated!

See the links below for more information and tips on using PubMed:

Although you can search PubMed Central (PMC) directly, links to full-text articles in PMC are included in results in PubMed. While there is an overlap with MEDLINE, there are also a number of non-MEDLINE journals in PMC.

The PMC record includes the citation under the journal banner. Note that the journal  name is abbreviated and is followed by the volume, issue, and page numbers and the DOI number. The title of the article follows with the author(s). Next follows the Abstract and finally the text of the article in HTML format. If alternate formats such as PDF are available, you will find a link at the top right of the record.

Image of PMC record

Finding the Full Text

If you find an article without full text and don't find a link to full text in another database, use the Journal Search feature on SearchUp (look for it in the tabs above the search box) and search by JOURNAL TITLE to see which databases have full text for the journal.

Helpful Links & Guides

Nursing Topic Guides