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Nursing Research


When conducting a literature search for a systematic review, you will need to be as comprehensive as possible in your searching. The resources on this page will give you helpful information on how to achieve the most comprehensive results in your searches of the health sciences literature.

Essential Databases

Any literature search for a systematic review must include comprehensive searches of the PubMed and CINAHL databases.  Additional databases that you may also wish to search are:

Academic Search Complete (a multidisciplinary database that indexes some health sciences journals, and some grey literature)

PsycInfo (the premier Psychology database--use if your clinical question has psychosocial aspects)

ERIC (the premier Education database--use if your clinical question has school nursing aspects)

JSTOR (a multidisciplinary scholarly-only database).

Google Scholar (can be configured to link to full-text material provided by the Pace University Libraries; includes links to Open Access full-text journal articles,)

General Advice

Because the PubMed interface to Medline contains the abstracts for articles not yet fully indexed for Medline, we recommend that you use the PubMed interface (rather than the EBSCO interface) to Medline when running literature searches for your systematic reviews.  This ensures that you will see the absolute most recent research on your topic.

Because you are working in groups on your systematic review, it is also recommended that you create a spreadsheet containing your search strategy in Google Drive and give access to all the members of your group so that you can collaborate without worrying about version control, etc. If you need help getting started with or using Google Drive click here.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health has a site with excellent resources for literature searches for systematic reviews: Finding the Evidence: Literature Searching Tools in Support of Systematic Reviews

Grey Literature

For an explanation of why searching grey literature is important and lists of a variety of grey literature sources, view Jennifer's interactive presentation on grey literature.


For additional information on grey literature sources, see the Research Guide by Susan Jacobs, Health Sciences Librarian at Bobst Library, New York University.

Why do I have to do such a thorough literature search?

Video Tutorials

This series of videos will help you get started with the literature search for your systematic review.  We recommend that you watch each one before contacting Sam Kim or another librarian for help. 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar does not support as complex searching as many other databases.  You will need to substantially alter and simplify your search.  See the attached document for advice on searching Google Scholar.

Citation Managers

You will need to use citation management software to manage the articles you find for your systematic review and generate citations for them. 

You have three options for citation managers:

EndNote : download from ADAM: Pace's apps, downloads and account management site 

            Pace's EndNote Guide 

Mendeley : free, more aimed at the scientific community

Zotero: free, more widely used than Mendeley

            Pace's Zotero Guide