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NU 631: Scientific Inquiry & Evidence for Clinical Practice

This guide is designed with NU403 and NU631 in mind, but is a great resource for anyone doing evidence-based practice nursing research.

What is a Primary Source?

In the sciences, a primary source is original material.  Typically, it is a document written to report the results of research undertaken by the authors.  It is a first-hand report.  These documents are often published as original research articles in peer-reviewed journals. 

They include the following components: 

  • a review of the existing literature on the topic
  • a section on the methods and materials used in the study
  • results (including data analysis)
  • discussion of the significance of the results
  • conclusions
  • list of references that identify studies the authors used to inform their own research. 

How to Find Original Research Articles in CINAHL

Here are some ways to find original research when searching CINAHL. 

1. Use keywords such as Randomized Control Trial or Case Study or other keywords that are relevant to original research.

2. Use limiters.  On the first page of your search query there are many limiters.  Publication Type allows you to limit to various options such as Randomized Control Trial. Research Article retrieves only articles coded as original research.

Tip: Assess all results to ensure you are getting what you expect.  Know how to recognize an original research article.


Original Research Studies

Sometimes a journal article will have a heading that indicates that it is a primary source.  Examples are below.  A quick review of the abstract will also indicate whether the article is primary or secondary research.


Primary Research Articles in the Sciences Video