Printable Summary



Specific Navigation:

  1. Connect to CINAHL through the Rutgers University Libraries website by clicking on Find Articles and choosing CINAHL from the alphabetical list.
  2. Choose to use the Advanced Search feature that EBSCOhost offers.
  3. Type your search terms in, choose the appropriate search field, and click search.
  4. Check Peer Reviewed Article.
  5. Enter Publication Years for the last five years.
  6. Narrow the search further by clicking on limiters.
  7. Click on article title for the Journal Article Citation.
  8. Click on listed subheaders for related articles.

OVID and Medline

Specific Navigation:

  1. Connect to Medline through the Rutgers University Libraries website by clicking on Find Articles and choosing Medline with the OVID interface from the alphabetical list.
  2. Type your search terms in and click search.
  3. Click continue, or use Explode or Focus feature.
  4. Choose any desired subheadings and click Continue.
  5. Any article with the OVID Full-text icon will have a full-text version readily available.


Specific Navigation:

  1. Log into RefWorks through Rutgers University Libraries website.
  2. Return to database where articles are flagged into a folder.
  3. Select references and then click Export.
  4. Click Direct Export Using RefWorks, then hit save.
  5. Return to the RefWorks website and click View Last Imported Folder.
  6. Selects Bibliography.
  7. Choose APA style, Word for Windows, and click Create Bibliography.
  8. Click Download It to save the formatted bibliography.



This basic guide will help you to:

There are multiple ways to arrive at the same journal article when using a database. This tutorial is meant to provide a few efficient and effective ways to locate relevant research material.

Letís begin by thinking about how to formulate a suitable topic.

Formulate a Research Question

Choosing the right sized topic for your research is paramount to a smooth writing process. If your topic is too broad, you will spend large amounts of time evaluating texts and be left writing a paper that is difficult to focus. If your topic is too narrow, you will have trouble finding adequate research material and be left writing a paper that is not supported by enough evidence.

Letís assume your professor has assigned an evidence-based practice paper. Youíve decided to research the chickenpox vaccine and you know that you need to narrow the scope. An interesting aspect of this topic is the possible risk associated with the vaccine. Letís see how we can narrow the focus even further.

One method that may help you appropriately size your topic is to frame your research question in the PICO format. PICO stands for Population (as in: the population you intend to study), Intervention (as in: the drug or therapy that is intervening), Comparison (as in: comparing the intervention with another drug, therapy, or placebo), and Outcome (as in: did the intervention provide relief?). When you wrap all four ideas into one clinical research question, you end up with a pointed and focused topic. For our example of the chickenpox vaccine, the PICO question format might be: What are the adverse effects in infants who receive the chickenpox vaccine? In this example, the Population to be studied is infants; the Intervention to be studied is the vaccine shot; the Comparison to be studied are children who did not get the vaccine; and the Outcome to be studied is the adverse effects in those vaccinated. By focusing on infants, weíve given our topic a specific population and this will considerably help constrict the scope of our evidence-based practice paper.

You can never be 100% sure that your topic is the right size until you actually begin the research. You will however gain a good idea if your topic is too broad or narrow early in the research process Ė based on the results of your database searches. You should revise the scope of your topic if you are overwhelmed by a large number of search results or if you are having a difficult time finding relevant information. In the chickenpox example, it would be easy to refine the question to make the topic even narrower simply by condensing the Population (instead of ďinfants,Ē use ďinfants living in the United StatesĒ). Obviously you can expand the PICO fields if you need to broaden the topic.

Explore EBSCOhost and CINAHL

The Rutgers University Libraries provide roughly 30 databases that are oriented toward health and medicine. All of these databases are considered premium Ė meaning access is limited as they charge a fee for use. Donít worry, since the University Libraries has already paid any fees, you, as a Rutgers student, can take full advantage of these resources. A premium database is much better to use when searching for a peer-reviewed, primary source than a typical search engine like Google. You could spend all day drudging through search returns on Google and never find access to a relevant, full-text article. However, with a premium database like CINAHL, there are ways to ensure that you are receiving search returns of only those articles that are from peer-reviewed, primary sources.

Specific Navigation:
The first step is to find the link to CINAHL inside the Rutgers University Libraries website. Look for the option to Find Articles. Click on that to see more choices. Since CINAHL is a database, we want to click on Indexes and Databases. This takes us to a list of every database and index that Rutgers students have access to. Find the link to CINAHL among the alphabetized title list and click. Finally we need to press Connect on the database description page to launch the EBSCOhost portal. All databases are accessed through portals. A portal, such as EBSCOhost, provides the interface that allows you to search through the content stored in a database.

Many interface options are presented by the portal EBSCOhost, including Basic Search, Advanced Search, and the unique Visual Search, which is explained in the More Resources option. The Advanced Search feature is the best way to perform a precise search and save your self time. This module will focus on using Advanced Search inside EBSCOhost and explain how to navigate its interface in order to find articles from CINAHL. Click on Advanced Search.

Letís think about what terms to search for and what fields to use. We know we want chickenpox as a term since thatís the main subject of our research.

First, here are some basic points of advice for conducting a search in any database: one, always spell your search terms correctly as most databases do not recognize misspellings; another tip is to use search terms that are appropriate to the database Ė such as using ďbreast neoplasmsĒ and not ďbreast cancer,Ē or making sure to use the generic name of pharmaceuticals.

The CINAHL database has a unique feature called CINAHL Headings that helps you find and use the right terms in your search.

If you click on the link for CINAHL Headings, you will be given the chance to type in your search term to find out how the database prefers you to use it in a search, including the correct spelling. For instance, if you typed chicken pox as two words inside CINAHL Headings, the system would let you know that it prefers for it to be one word. It also displays other major headings related to the term. In the case of chickenpox, we can see that chickenpox vaccine is considered a search heading. So letís use that.

Now letís enter chickenpox vaccine into the search box. We need to define what sort of search term this is. Search fields tell the database how you would like to search. For example, you could specify to search by author, title, or subject heading to name a few. Click on the Search Fields tab and select Word in Subject Heading.

You can see the word ďandĒ written with a tab next to it. This is a Boolean operator. Understanding how Boolean operators work and how to apply them is critical in any successful search.

Boolean operators give you options in terms of the way you want to combine search terms. If we searched for chickenpox vaccine AND disease transmission, we would retrieve every article that discusses both of these concepts in the same article. If we searched for chickenpox vaccine OR disease transmission, we would receive all of the articles that discuss chickenpox vaccine, as well as all of the articles that discuss disease transmission. Another operator option is NOT. By using the search statement, chickenpox vaccine NOT disease transmission, we would exclude any chickenpox vaccine articles that discuss disease transmission. For now, letís keep our search to just chickenpox vaccine.

Itís time to think about ways to make our search results more precise. Letís see what limiters we can add to our search.

First, make sure to limit your search to articles that were published from peer reviewed journals. Click on this option here. Typically, Rutgers professors require students to cite peer reviewed journal articles only. You should also consider limiting your search to evidence-based practice articles when appropriate.

Another recommendation often made by College of Nursing faculty to their students is to cite sources that were published within the last five years. Luckily, EBSCOhost gives us a search field to limit our search by publication years. Type the desired years into the search field boxes. Also, under the language option, make sure to mark English.

Since we know the population we are investigating, click on Infant, 1-23 months as the age group.

Take a look at an article or two to see if you are on the right track. Click on an article title to get a Journal Article Citation. A Journal Article Citation presents basic information you need to know: the author, the title, the journal title or source, and an abstract. There are ways to record and save this information. Look at the large icons at the top of the page.

EBSCOhost provides options to print the full citation, email it to yourself or someone else, save it to a hard disk, get the formatted APA citation, export it to RefWorks, or simply save the citation to an online folder inside EBSCOhost. Remember: keeping your articles and citations organized while you search will save you a headache down the road when itís time to cite a source in your paper.

If this article seems to be a great candidate for the sort of evidence based research you are looking for, use it as the basis for additional searches. In other words, try to find more of the same. This will save you a lot of time from trolling through the large number of search results. While you are still inside the journal article citation, look for the subject headings and their sub-headings. By clicking on the sub-headings, you will be given more results that mirror the article you already found.

Find full-text articles

One of the most frustrating moments that can occur in the midst of hunting down appropriate articles for a research paper is when you come across the abstract for an excellent article but cannot find the full-text version. It is the classic ďclose but no cigarĒ scenario that tortures the nerves of Rutgers students. But there is a remedy to the full-text dilemma.

Specific Navigation:
When you find an article inside EBSCOhost and you can see that there is no attached full-text version (if there was, you would see a large PDF icon), donít panic. Many students do not realize that this isnít the end of the road. The Rutgers University Libraries have access to many articles, although you may have to leave CINAHL to find them.

The nice thing about this is that EBSCOhost has a button to send you in the right direction. Click on the Search for Article button at the bottom of any journal article citation.

You will be taken to a page inside the Rutgers University Libraries website that has more information on the article you want. There are several options to locate a full-text version on this page: the first way is to click on the article link. This launches a new browser page for the online publication. Usually IRIS will take you to the exact article with a PDF version ready to be opened, saved, and printed. Sometimes this will take you to a home page for the journal and you will have to enter the publication date of the journal issue to find the table of contents.

Sometimes the Search for Article page may report that there are no holdings available. Donít give up. Look lower on the page to find an option to search for the journal by ISSN, which is the journalís serial number. You can also use the link to search for the journalís title. Either link will take you to the journal record in IRIS, the Universities Libraries catalog. The record shows if there is another access point to the article from another vendor or if the article is available in print at a Rutgers library. Remember, you can always ask a librarian for help.

Operate OVID and Medline

This module is designed to help you operate the OVID portal to reach such databases as Medline. There is certainly a recognizable difference between the interfaces of OVID and other portals like EBSCOhost.

Specific Navigation:
To begin using Medline, return to the list of available databases inside the Rutgers University Libraries website. Remember, this can be found by clicking on the Find Articles link in the navigation menu. Then click on Indexes & Databases. Once you have returned to the full list, either scroll down to the section of databases that begin with the letter M or click on the letter M thatís listed at the top of your screen. Either way, you will end up in the same place. Make sure to click on the Medline that is hosted by Ovid. Finally, click on the dark button thatís labeled Connect near the top of the webpage to launch the database.

Once your web browser has launched the Ovid portal for Medline, you will notice some similarities between this interface and that of CINAHL. Both offer an option for performing an advanced search, although in Ovid that type of search is already initiated.

For continuityís sake, letís use the same clinical research question: What are the risk factors in infants who receive the chickenpox vaccine? Make sure the ďmap term to subject headingĒ is checked. Now that Chickenpox Vaccine is typed into the search field, press Search.

If you check the Explode feature and continue your search, you will have searched for Chickenpox Vaccine AND all of the more specific medical subject headings under the term, such as Herpes Zoster Vaccine. If you check Focus, then you will retrieve articles where Chickenpox Vaccine is the main subject. We are not going to check either one. Instead you are going to select the heading Chickenpox Vaccine. Now click Continue.

From the subheading menu, select Adverse Effects. By adding this subheading to the query, Ovid will now search the Medline database for those articles about the adverse effects of the chickenpox vaccine. Click Continue.

You retrieved a ton of articles. You can always add additional limits at this point to make your search more precise. Remember that, although many of these articles do not show a full-text article attached, the Rutgers University Libraries may have one available.

Letís just check the age we want to search for (infant), the years of publication we want (2003 to 2008), and make sure we get texts that are written in English only.

There are two buttons under every search return: Find Similar and Find Citing Articles. If you click Find Similar, Ovid will run a search inside Medline to find articles similar to this one. If you click Find Citing Articles, Ovid will search for the articles that have this article in their references. This is a great way to get current information about your subject.

Click the option to add additional limits. Two pull-down menus of limiters that might be useful are Publication Types and Journal Subsets. Here you can request specific types of publications, like searching within nursing journals only, or limit your search to a specific kind of article, like a controlled clinical trial research paper.

Now we see that our additional limits cut the number of articles returned in our search to a manageable size.

Letís find an article with a full-text version attached to the record. Click on OVID Full Text. The new window that opens offers a set of options on the right panel. Click on the PDF icon for the full text article.

Returning to the top of the article, you will see several options for saving this text, including: saving it to your computer, emailing it to yourself, or printing the article. Each option provides easy to understand directions to complete the task.

Use RefWorks to store reference sources and produce bibliographies in proper APA format

Properly citing references and creating a bibliography can be a challenging exercise. Specifying your sources is integral to the academic writing process since you are using ideas from other researchers to support your paper's argument. Giving credit to the authors you've consulted adds to the validity of your paper and, in the larger picture, maintains authenticity and quality in the development of nursing knowledge. When you fail to give credit, you are committing plagiarism which is defined as a form of academic dishonesty or academic fraud. Most professions, including nursing, expressly state that the failure to cite properly is unethical behavior. In the university setting, students or faculty who plagiarize are subject to severe penalties.

The process of properly citing your reference sources can be simplified by using a bibliographic citation manager. The University Libraries offers the manager, RefWorks. RefWorks can compile your sources, help you track your citations, and, best of all, create a bibliography for you in APA format that is directly publishable to a Word file. This module of the tutorial will guide you through using the central features of RefWorks. It is important to note that RefWorks provides a full tutorial on their website that covers all of the available functions of their application.

Specific Navigation:
To use RefWorks, navigate to the service by clicking on the RefWorks link in the left hand navigation of the Rutgers University Libraries website. This will take you to another page inside the Rutgers website where you will click Connect. If you have not used RefWorks before, you will be asked to register, a brief process. Click on the Frequently Asked Questions section on the previous page for an explanation of how to register. But letís assume for now that you have already registered. Click Connect.

Once connected, you will notice yourself leaving the Rutgers University Libraries website.

Now letís assume you are working inside EBSCOhost where you are searching for chickenpox articles in CINAHL. Letís go to your folder where you have flagged several articles already.

Select the references you plan to use and click Export.

Since you are logged into RefWorks, you can click on Direct Export to directly export using RefWorks. Make sure this option is selected. Click Save. Now you will be sent back to the RefWorks website. You may need to login again if your previous session has expired.

Once you are inside the RefWorks website, select View Last Imported Folder.

Letís assume you want to craft your bibliography. Select Bibliography.

Now you can choose what formatting style you want to use. Letís choose APA as our output style. In the pull down menu for Output Style, select Access Output Style Manager and, from the resulting list, click on APA and add it to your Favorites. Now you are ready to select it on the Bibliography page. Click the button for Format a Bibliography from a List of References and select Word for Windows as the software and operating system we are using. In References to Include, go to References from folder and select Last Imported. Click on Create Bibliography.

Itís that easy. Finally you can click on Download to save the formatted bibliography. Itís always smart to proofread your bibliography to make sure all of your sources are listed, formatted correctly and contain all of the pertinent information. RefWorks is an export option with nearly all of the University Libraries databases you will use. It will ease your anxiety about the reference documentation process and save your time by having folders to organize your citations.

That wraps up the tutorial. Remember, the Advanced Search techniques presented here are fairly basic Ė if you would like additional information about more complex ways of searching databases, each database provides a Help guide that explains every feature they provide. Furthermore, you can also stop by a reference desk to have a reference librarian help you.

Thanks and happy article hunting!