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Postgraduate Nursing: Journal Databases

formaly Master of Nursing

Introduction to Journal databases

This section of the guide introduces you to the wonders of journal databases! This is explained below, and for more information do check out the Library's guide - Database Help.

In this guide, we will give you some search tips, as well as more information on some of the important databases you will no doubt become familiar with:

  • CINAHL - An important database of Nursing and Allied Health literature, on the Ebsco platform
  • Medline and PsychInfo - two of the databases on the Ovid platform that may widen your searching
  • Cochrane Library - a highly regarded source of randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews in medicine
  • Scopus - a multidisciplinary citation database where you can have fun following citations backwards and forwards!

How do Journal Databases work?

A journal database is an organised collection of indexed information records, most often from journal articles. This is where you would head when you need to search for information published in journals.

An information record in a journal database may contain:

  • Citation details (such as author, date of publication, title, etc)
  • Details describing the publication (such as a summary, contents, abstract, or subject area)
  • Information about its veracity (such as whether it has been peer reviewed, or its citation count)
  • A link to the full text of the document

Some online journals are open access, which means anyone can access the articles freely. However, most online journals require a subscription for access to the full text of articles, which can be very expensive. This is where the Library comes in. We subscribe to thousands of online journals on your behalf. To access them you must go through the Library website - either Primo Search or a link from a journal database. That ensures that you are an authorised user of the material.

For assistance please see our Database Help Library Resource Guide.

Or consider attending one of our Library Research Online Library Workshops

Get familiar with library databases

journal articles & library databases

Why Should You Use Journal Databases?

Journal databases:

  • Are the best source of academic or scholarly information for your assessments
  • help you locate peer reviewed articles
  • Are subject specific, so that you get more relevant results
  • Have many options for refining results

You can find the Library's databases on the A-Z Databases page.

Databases are grouped into subject areas. The Nursing databases will be particularly useful for your study.

Journal Databases for Nursing

For a comprehensive list of relevant databases, head to A-Z databases - Nursing.

In this guide we will have a look at the following journal databases in detail:

  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text - arguably the most comprehensive nursing database, on the EBSCO platform
  • Medline and PsycINFO - both on the Ovid platform, these are the primary databases for biomedical and psychology literature.
  • Cochrane Library -  an important international and independent source of evidence based medical information
  • Scopus - a citation database of research literature across a large number of subjects

Depending on the emphasis of your research question, other databases which may be helpful include:

Be sure to contact a Librarian if you need help navigating these resources.


The Library has access to this point of care database. It is an extremely useful tool which summarises the best evidence on a range of health conditions in a number of specialties.

Continually updated, use this resource wisely. Check the extensive reference lists to find the primary studies contributing to the evidence base. In your assessment tasks, quote the original articles where you can, rather than the UpToDate summary.

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