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Health Research Guide (Old): Resource types

A guide to help you getting started with your research for Nursing and Health Sciences.

What are resources?

There are a variety of resources you can use to find information for your studies and assignments. A resource is a source of information or expertise and can come in many forms, like books, eBook, journals, websites, etc. Resources can be accessed in various ways like through Library Search, databases, Internet, etc.

Library Search

Library Search is the discovery layer to CDU library. By using Library Search you can search across CDU resources (library catalogue, databases, journals and eBook collections). Library Search is Google for the CDU Library. Simply type in your keywords and click SEARCH.

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When searching Library Search, you can narrow your search down to books and eBooks. If you are on campus, you can borrow books from the library. If you are a distance student, you can borrow books by accessing the CDU distance library services. EBooks can be accessed through Library Search. More information on eBooks can be found in the eBooks LibGuide.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using books as resources.


  • Scholarly books contain authoritative information.
  • In-depth coverage of theory and practice.
  • Good sources of historical data.
  • Good source of background information


  • Not a good source for information on current topics, due to the time it takes to publish a book



There are two main types of journals you will be expected to use:

Professional journals

Professional journal contain case studies, practical advice, explanations of how new research, regulations and techniques will impact on the profession. e.g. Australian Nursing & Midwifery Journal.

Scholarly journals

Scholarly journals contain new theories and results of research studies, generally from university academics and specialist research institutes. Scholarly journals, sometimes called academic journals or periodicals, are generally peer reviewed. e.g. Contemporary Nurse and Journal of Nursing Education.


  • Many journals are peer reviewed, which means that the articles are checked by academics and other experts and therefore contain reliable information.
  • Include citations at the end, which might lead to additional resources.
  • More current information, due to shorter publication time.
  • Contain most current research.
  • Journals provide information on specific topics.


  • Journal articles generally don't provide an introduction to a subject area.
  • Journal articles generally don't provide a broad overview of a specific topic.

Is a journal peer reviewed or not?
If you are not sure if a journal is peer reviewed (refereed), access Ulrich’s Periodical Directory through the CDU Library databases. Type the journal title into the search box in Ulrich's Periodical Directory. If you see therefereed symbol next to the journal title, then it is peer reviewed.


CDU provides you with a number of databases that provide access to nursing/health related journals.

Reasons for using CDU databases

  • Free access to scholarly information.
  • The content is evaluated for authority and accuracy.
  • The information is stable.
  • You can access databases that specifically relate to your course of study.
  • You can easily refine your search, and limit or expand your search to find what you're looking for.

Why use a Database instead of Library Search?

Health specific databases are ideal for searching the journal literature because they are tailored to a particular discipline, and therefore provide the ability to narrow your search in ways that wouldn't be possible in a general database or search tool like Library Search.

In a medical database you can for example limit your search to clinical trials, age groups studied, evidence-based practice, etc. .

Databases vary in content and may include: systematic reviews, conference proceedings, book chapters, patient information sheets, theses, drug information, etc.

Databases can be accessed from the library website. Some of the key databases for health sciences and nursing can be accessed from the Health Sciences LibGuide and the Nursing LibGuide home tab.


There are reasons for and against using the Internet. As much as we would like to encourage you to use academic resources, which will be a requirement for your assignments, something like a Google search will have its place during your studies every now and then.

Resources you might access using Google

  • Standards of practice (eg. Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia)
  • Community information
  • Community based health organizations
  • International health organizations
  • Government websites
  • Online dictionary or thesaurus

Reasons NOT to use the Internet

  • Some resources available on the Internet require payment. You might find the perfect article, but can only view the abstract for free.
  • Information is often not evaluated for accuracy and may therefore be incorrect, misleading or biased.
  • Website come and go, and many times are not updated
  • The internet will give you a lot of information that will not relate to your course of study or topic.
  • Google won't offer you an option to narrow down your search and often provides you extra information based on previous searches.








Books on Research in Health Subjects

Writing Skills for Nursing and Midwifery Students

This book offers practical strategies for using language to achieve clear, persuasive writing; provides clear explanations of underlying principles; contains samples of good and improvable writing, leading the student step-by-step through the whole writing process; focuses on the genres and styles of writing that nursing and midwifery students are typically asked for. With regular summaries, learning aids, checklists and a glossary of key terms, nursing and midwifery students at all levels will find this book easy to follow and handy to refer to for help with the writing they need to do throughout their course.

Understanding Research for Nursing Students

This book provides an introductory guide to the main research methodologies used in nursing. It simplifies complex terminology and puts research into context for nursing students, with clear examples and case studies. Written in clear, easy to follow language, Each chapter is linked to relevant NMC Standards and Essential Skills Clusters. A companion website with 9 podcasts to bring topics from the book to life.

Qualitative Methods for Health Research

The third Edition of this bestselling title is packed full of real-world advice for researchers and students. It is an invaluable introduction to the theoretical and practical essentials needed to design, conduct and appraise qualitative research in health. This book sets out a logical, easy-to-follow path supported by practical examples ensuring you will find it engaging and relevant, an effective mix of classic and contemporary case studies from across health research-expanded summaries, key points and reflective questions designed to help students apply theory to their own research and provides an authoritative introduction to qualitative research for all health professionals and students.

Health Behavior: Theory, Research, and Practice

The essential health behavior text, updated with the latest theories, research, and issues, provides a thorough introduction to understanding and changing health behavior, core tenets of the public health role. This new fifth edition has been updated to reflect the most recent changes in the public health field with a focus on health behavior, including coverage of the intersection of health and community, culture, and communication, with detailed explanations of both established and emerging theories.

Designing and Managing Your Research Project

Written for advanced undergraduate students, postgraduate students planning theses and dissertations and other early career researchers, Designing and Managing Your Research Project helps you successfully plan and complete your research project by showing the key skills that you will need. Designing and Managing Your Research Project includes lots of examples, case studies and practical exercises to help you learn the research skills you will need and also to help you complete crucial project tasks. A key feature is its user-friendly guidance on planning projects and accessing information from the Internet.

Research Methods in Health: Investigating Health and Health Services

This bestselling book provides an accessible introduction to the concepts and practicalities of research methods in health and health services. Research Methods in Health, Fourth Edition is an essential companion for students and researchers of health and health services, health clinicians and policy-makers with responsibility for applying research findings and judging the soundness of research. It provides an impressively comprehensive overview of health research methods in which the wealth and variety of experience of the author shines through at every point. 

Handbook of Health Research Methods: Investigation, Measurement and Analysis

This handbook helps researchers to plan, carry out, and analyse health research, and evaluate the quality of research studies. The book takes a multidisciplinary approach to enable researchers from different disciplines to work side-by-side in the investigation of population health, the evaluation of health care, and in health care delivery.

Popular Databases

You can search the following Databases to find journal articles - many of which will be available in "Fulltext PDF" where you can then print it, save it, or email it.

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