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Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Literature Review

EBN resources and strategies. (Including useful approaches for students in NURS604).


Review articles pull together previously published original research (primary sources), saving you time and effort. If you find a review, be sure to do a comprehensive search to see if additional research was published after the review article came out.

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Nursing and Health Sciences Databases

The search tips below will help you narrow your search results to tertiary sources (as defined in the NURS604 syllabus) relevant for evidence-based nursing practice (systematic reviews, literature reviews, meta-analyses, etc.). For comprehensive literature reviews, search CINAHL, PubMed, or other disciplinary databases without using the limits described below.


  • Select Advanced Search link before searching
  • Use CINAHL Headings button to find best terms (blue button at top of screen)
  • After determining best term(s), click on Search Database (green button, upper part of screen)
  • Use Search History link if you need to combine terms (below search term boxes)
  • Use Show More link below Refine Results 
      • Check box by Evidence-Based Practice
      • Also consider using, Publication Type (e.g., Clinical trial, Research)


Cochrane Library

  • Search default is a keyword search in "Title, Abstract or Keywords" fields

    • The search box is in the upper right corner of the page.
    • On results screen, systematic reviews or protocols published by the Cochrane Collaboration will be displayed. Other types of reviews and documents can be selected using the tabs above the results. Use the "More" tabs to see references to reviews from other sources.
    • Use the "Help" link in the toolbar below the search box for help searching the Cochrane collection


  • Consider also starting from the Advanced Search button below the search box in order to use Medical Terms (MeSH) to look up subject headings, similar to using "MeSH" option in PubMed.
    • After entering a search, the number of  relevant records found in Cochrane Reviews and other sources appear in a box in the right frame
      • Select View Results to see titles


  • Use the Browse button below the search box to browse by an alphabetical list of broad topics
    • Identify broad category into which your topic fits, e.g., if your topic is venous insufficiency, select "Heart & Circulation"
    • At the results screen, look in the left frame for Topics in order to further narrow the results



  • At first PubMed screen, look for PubMed Tools 
    • Select Clinical Queries
      • Enter terms in Search box, click Search
      • Results display sorted into Clinical Study Category, Systematic Reviews, and Medical Genetics 
  • For a detailed tutorial, see PubMed Tutorial: Clinical Queries. 


  • At first PubMed screen, enter terms in search box
  • At results screen, in left frame, find Article Type
  • Click on "Customize"
  • Select relevant types, e.g., Meta-Analysis, Systematic Reviews., etc.
  • Small window will close, the types you selected will display under "Article types"
    • Again, select the names of the article types of interest

Additional Evidence-Based Practice Sources

  • EPC Evidence-based Reports (A public resource from Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Program of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US DHHS)

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Sources for Statistical Data

American FactFinder 

  • User friendly entry point for U.S. Census Bureau data, including population, housing and economic data at the national, state, or local level.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • User friendly entry point for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information, including news, overviews of issues, statistics

State of New Jersey

  • Entry point to NJ state government information, including department websites, communicty information, statistical resources
    • Center for Health Statistics
      • Official source for statistics on annual vital events data (NJSHAD), chronic illness prevalence and associated risk factors (NJBRFS), and fatal and non-fatal injury and violence (NJVDRS)

TCNJ Databases

  • Search for articles publishing research data in relelvant subject areas, including Nursing, Economics, Social Sciences or in a multidisciplinary database such as Academic Search Premier

Related Disciplines Databases

For a truly comprehensive literature search, consider also searching other disciplines' databases.

Selected Disciplines:

Complete TCNJ Subject Listing of Databases 

  • Start from the search box labeled "I'm looking for articles in this subject area: Choose a Subject" and select the subject of interest from the drop-down menu. 


  • Start from the TCNJ Library website in order to increase the probability of retrieving fulltext by passing through the proxy server.
  • If you cannot link to fulltext from GoogleScholar, use TCNJ Library's Journal Title look up to see if the journal is available from another database.