Trocaire College Libraries

What is the Ovid Database Guide?

This guide will show you how to use Ovid to find journal articles for your assignments. Many of the things you learn from this guide can be used in our other library databases.

You will be given search strategies, and other helpful hints, for searching Ovid before starting your own searching. There is a short quiz at the end to see how well this tutorial worked for you.

Let's Begin...

Why databases?

The best way to find journal articles for your assignments is to use the library's databases.

While just Googling is quicker, you cannot always verify the accuracy of a website...or worse, you may be asked to pay $$ for limited use of an article you find online that you could be getting free from the library!

To find Ovid, and all of our other databases on our website, select Article and eBook Databases from the Research drop down menu. Then select Databases A to Z.

You can also select Library Resources by Subject to find specific resources related to your program or coursework.

Finding Ovid

You can scroll down the screen until you reach Ovid.

Click here to access Ovid to access the database and start your search journey.

If you are off-campus, you will need to login with your Trocaire network ID and password.

Nursing Journals in Ovid

There are three options for searching journal articles within Ovid:

  • Search the Ovid Journals Database for Abstracts & Tables of Contents - includes abstracts (summaries) of journal articles
  • Libraries@Trocaire Nursing Journals on Ovid - includes full text journal articles that the Libraries@Trocaire subscribes.
  • Ovid Nursing Database - includes full text articles along with abstracts plus Medline

Our nursing journal subscription holds some of the top nursing journals in the field, such as Nursing, American Journal of Nursing and Nurse Educator.

You may check all boxes for all three options in order to search both full text and abstracts of articles.

Please note that Ovid also has an option for eBooks. If you want to expand your search to books and chapters within books, you may select:

Libraries@Trocaire Nursing Books on Ovid - eBooks

Searching Ovid

It is important to note that Ovid has a time out mechanism which will log you out of the system. You will get a one minute warning prior to the session time out.

If you do time out of an Ovid session, you will need to reload it from the databases page.

Basic Search or Advanced Search?

Use the Basic Search option to find some recent, highly relevant publication using a quick question or list of subjects. The articles are ranked by "stars". The result list will begin with "5 star" articles meaning that all terms are present.

Use the Advanced Search option to create a research style search based on selected keywords. Here you may input as many terms needed and then combine them to get your results.


You only want to use the main points of the topic as your keywords.

Keywords are the words you enter into a database or search engine to find information on a topic.

Keywords are critical for effective database searching. They...

  • help you focus on a topic and your research
  • eliminate extraneous articles
  • are better for Internet searching too

Keyword Tips

Now some quick search tips when using Ovid or our other databases:

  • Use academic or professional language when you are conducting research in order to find the most scholarly materials on your topic.
  • Avoid unnecessary words like effect, affect, study, research or journal when searching library databases.
  • Put quotation marks around your words to search as an exact phrase
    • climate change
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with similar endings.
    • teen* would find teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenaged.
  • Use a question mark or hashtag symbol to search for similarly spelled words at the same time
    • woman and women (wom#n, wom?n).
    • Databases tend to use the question mark; search engines the hashtag symbol.

Search Tips

  • Use AND to combine your main keywords together. This happens automatically in search engines.
    • “Lake Erie” AND “climate change”.
  • Use OR in databases and web searching to search for two words that can be used interchangeably.
    • neonate OR infant OR newborn
  • Use NOT to eliminate a word or topic from your search. Many search engines use a minus sign (-) to eliminate words.
    • vaccines NOT autism
Advanced Keyword

Limiting your results

Once you begin searching in Ovid, you may retrieve 100s of articles. There are ways to lower your search results to find articles that better fit your needs.

  • Add additional keywords to your search
  • Change the date range to limit to more recent research

Abstract, Article or Review?

Almost all of the results in Ovid will contain journal articles. However, there may be some abstracts, reviews or commentaries as well.

The abstract is a summary of the journal article. Reading it can help you decide if the article works for your research project.

A journal article contains an abstract, plus the full article and references at the end. There are also often datasets, charts and graphs. This infographic can help you decide if you are looking at a journal article or just an abstract.

Your instructors want full text journal articles not abstracts.

Full Text

There are two types of full text journal articles in Ovid:

  • Articles in Ovid Full Text look like a webpage.
  • Article as PDF look like a scan of the original article in the printed journal.

Tools in Ovid

There are several tools to help you do more with your article.

The most commonly used tools are:

  • Article as PDF
  • Print Preview - takes you to a printable view of the article
  • Email Jumpstart - direct link to the article
  • Email PDF Jumpstart - direct link to the pdf of the article
  • Save Article Text (home PC, H:drive or flash drive)
  • Export All Images to PowerPoint - Takes any images from the article and opens them in PowerPoint; useful for presentations
If you find an article you like in Ovid, there are two tools to help you find similar articles.

  • Find Citing Articles - searches for articles that used your article as a reference
  • Find Similar - searches for articles on the same topic

Citing in Ovid

Once you have found the article(s) you wish to use for your research paper, you may want to obtain citation information from Ovid.

  • Place a check mark in the box next to each article you wish to cite.
  • Scroll to the top of the results list and select Export.
  • This will open Export Citation List.
  • Citations export to Microsoft Word by default, but you do have other options for exporting.
  • Use Select Citation Style to create your citation needed for your research paper (APA, MLA).
  • Then press Export Citation(s).

If you choose to cite using Ovid, make sure to double check your citation against a trusted resource like our Citation Help or Purdue OWL to make sure it is properly formatted.
Created by: Keri Thomas-Whiteside, Information Literacy Librarian. Fall 2016
Updated by: Cindy Seitz, MLS. Summer 2017