Library Europe's largest nursing-specific collection

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Getting started using the Library

We offer online information resources, four libraries, and library staff who can provide you with help. Use this guide for an introduction to our resources and services. Discover how you can find information and get the most from RCN library and archive services.

Last updated: 12/05/2022

Library search tools

Library search
  • An easy to use search for journal articles, books and eBooks. Use the 'I'm looking for' box in the centre of the screen.
    Open Library search
Library search overview
Library search guide

Video tutorials

Literature searching video tutorials
  • You can find our full range of video tutorials here. These offer guidance on using our website and searching for online journals.
    View page


These books include chapters about literature searching and using libraries.
Aveyard, H, Sharp, P and Woolliams, M. (2015) A beginner’s guide to critical thinking and writing in health and social care Aveyard H, Sharp, P and Woolliams M (2015) A beginner’s guide to critical thinking and writing in health and social care. 2nd edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Book Cover Boyd C and Murray B (2014) Study skills for nurses. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Book Cover Cottrell S (2019) The study skills handbook. 5th edn. London: Macmillan International Higher Education.
Book Cover Northrop M (2015) Studying for a foundation degree in health. London: Routledge.
Book Cover Pears R and Shields G (2022) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 12th edn. London: Bloomsbury.

Book subject searches

Use this link to see details of books the RCN libraries hold on the topic.

Journal articles

Chalkley A (2019) How libraries and librarians can help you, British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 13(9), pp. 427–429.
Watson M (2020) How to undertake a literature search: a step-by-step guide, British Journal of Nursing, 29(7), pp. 431–435.
Key J (2020) How to undertake a literature search: enhancing your search, British Journal of Nursing, 29(8), pp. 481–483.

Evaluating information

Bedford D (2018) Anatomy of a journal article. 
  • This online resource explains the sections commonly used in research articles. Understanding how research articles are organised can make reading and evaluating them easier.
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Medical Research Council, Chief Scientist Office and University of Glasgow: Understanding Health Research.
  • A tool designed to help people understand and review health research and to decide how dependable and relevant it is. The tool will guide you through a series of questions which will help you to evaluate a research article.
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Study skills

Book Cover RCN: study skills reading list
  • This reading list covers a range of study skills. Some resources may only be available to RCN members and RCN programme participants.
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Royal College of Nursing (2021) Referencing guidelines. London: RCN.
  • If you are looking for an example of Harvard referencing you may find our guidelines a useful example. You should always follow the referencing guidelines of your university or institution however. They will be different to these guidelines as there are many versions of Harvard referencing.
    View PDF
Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. Pears R and Shields G (2019) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 11th edn. London: Macmillan.

Accessibility resources

  • MyStudyBar is free assistive software to help learners with literacy-related difficulties including dyslexia. It can offer potential benefits to all learners. It includes mind mapping software, a text to audio reader and screen colour overlays. My StudyBar only works on Windows PCs. It is free to download and can be used from a USB stick.
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Gribben, M (2012) The study skills toolkit for students with dyslexia Gribben M (2012) The study skills toolkit for students with dyslexia. London: SAGE.
RCN Library staff

Alan Chalkley

Editor of this guide

RCN Library and Archive Service

Upcoming events relating to this subject guide

Page last updated - 12/05/2022