Important links on this page:
CINAHL database

PubMed database

How to identify & read a research article

APA formatting guide (OWL)


Finding the evidence: locating research articles on nutrition topicsMany research articles are free online, but many more are available only to subscribers. Ursuline Library subscribes to THOUSANDS of journals (most online).
As an Ursuline student, this means YOU are a subscriber, too!
Step 1: Search for articles.
Use one of the following databases to find scholarly articles reporting on original research (primary sources).
  • CINAHL - Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature
    • Search using broad keywords (nutrition, diet, malnutrition, diet therapy, diabetes, etc.) - one or two words at a time for best results!
    • If you are interested in a very narrow topic, try a few different searches using related keywords. Few or no results? Try broader terms.
    • Use these limit options for best results:
      • Published date 2011 to 2016
      • English Language (checkbox)
      • Research Article (checkbox)
    • Other limit options to try:
      • Special Interest: Nutrition (scroll menu)
      • Journal Subset: Core Nursing (scroll menu - try this if you are consistently having trouble locating full text)
      • Randomized Controlled Trials (checkbox - add this limiter if your result list is very large; it will narrow your search significantly)
    • DO NOT USE the Evidence-Based Practice limiter!
  • PubMed - PubMed is a free, public website, but we recommend accessing it from this link or from the library's Indexes/Databases page so you will have the best access to full text.
    • Search using broad and/or related keywords, as described above.
    • Filtering options are available on the left-hand side of your result list. Use these filters for best results:
      • Publication dates: 5 years
      • Species: Humans
      • Languages: English
    • Other filters to try:
      • Article types - click "more..." Check the following boxes and uncheck any others. Click "Show," then select filters to apply them.
        • Clinical Trial
        • Controlled Clinical Trial
        • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Find It! If the full text is not immediately available in the database, you might see a button that says Find It! This will link you to the full text in another database. If this doesn't work or you don't see the Find It! button, search for the title of the journal (NOT the article title!) in Journal Finder to see if Ursuline Library has a subscription. If you still can't find the full text, see if the article is free online via Google Scholar.

Step 2: Evaluate and select articles.

Consider the following:
  • Is the article reporting on an original research study, or is it a review, meta-analysis, practice guideline, or some other type of article?
    • How to identify and read a research article
    • Usually, reviews and meta-analyses will say "review" or "meta-analysis" in the title and/or abstract of the article. These articles will also contain all of the components of a research article, but they are NOT primary research articles. They compile, summarize, and synthesize previous studies.
  • Was the research conducted in the United States?

Step 3: Submit the article to your instructor for approval.
Three ways:
  1. Save the .pdf of the article to your computer, then send the article as an attachment to an email message.
  2. Paste a link to the article into an email message. Some links will not behave the same way on and off campus. Sometimes you can copy the link from the address bar in your browser, but not always! Use a "permalink" if there is one provided. Send yourself a test message and try the link from a computer off campus if you're not sure.
  3. Save or post the .pdf in D2L if your instructor has created a place for it.

Step 4: Correctly format APA citations.
Remember: YOU are responsible for your citations! Online tools are designed to assist you, but sometimes they are incorrect. Double-check your citations using an authoritative print or online manual.