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Library Resources for MSN Students: Exploring: ProQuest

This guide provides information on how best to utilize library resources throughout your MSN program at the College of Nursing.

Vocabulary used on this page...


Limits and filters allow you to narrow the results down to only the ones that are most relevant. Common limits that are applied include: article type, date, and language.

Tip: the more limits and filters you set, the narrower your results will be. It is possible for you to limit your results all the way down to 0, so be careful.

Tip 2: do not limit by Full Text. As a student of ECU, you can receive the full text of articles either with your PirateID and password, or through our free Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if ECU does not own a copy of the article. Electronic resources can be e-mailed to your ECU account.

Creating a personal account

Personal accounts in databases are free, and I strongly recommend creating an account for each database you may use. They are particularly valuable when you need to save your searches for longer than your current browsing period. Closing your browser almost always erases your search history; having a personal account allows you to save searches that you may want to look at again later.

To create an account in ProQuest, click on the icon of the person in the top right-hand corner of the page, then click on Sign into My Research in the dropdown menu.

Screenshot of ProQuest home page with arrow pointing to Sign into My Research icon

On the next page, click on Create a My Research account.

Screenshot of ProQuest account creation page

Finally, complete the form that pops up. You also have an option to link your ProQuest account to your RefWorks account. I recommend checking this box because doing so will make citation management a great deal easier if these two accounts are linked.

Basic searching in ProQuest

ProQuest makes its basic search feature fairly simple. Just copy and paste the search string you created from your concept table into the search bar and click the magnifying glass.

(Nurse OR Nurses OR "Nursing personnel") AND ("Health literacy") AND (Rural OR "Rural areas" OR "Rural health centers" OR "Rural population" OR "Rural populations" OR "Rural health nursing" OR "Underserved populations")

Screenshot of search in ProQuest

After clicking the magnifying glass, you will see the results page. You can apply limits to the results by selecting them on the left-hand sidebar.

Screenshot of Results page in ProQuest

As you select filters, ProQuest will refresh the results page to display only those articles that meet the selected criteria.

Ask a Librarian

Click button to open chat with a librarian applet

Chat with a librarian is available 9-5 Monday-Friday.

Need to contact a librarian? Click here!

Call us:

1-888-820-0522 (toll free)


How to access the article

To access articles that look relevant to you, click on the article title to open the article page. If ECU has access to the full text, you will see an option to download the PDF. If this option does not appear, please complete the Interlibrary Loan request form to have it e-mailed to you.

Screenshot of ProQuest record page with arrow pointing to Download PDF button

How to save articles

If you created a personal ProQuest account, you can save articles by selecting the ones you want to save, and then clicking on Save in the middle column just above the results. When the dropdown menu opens, select Save to My Research. This will put the articles into your My Research folder.

Screenshot of ProQuest results page with arrow pointing to Save button

How to save your search

If you created a personal ProQuest account, you can save your search. Click on Recent Searches above the results on the results page.

Screenshot of Recent Searches on ProQuest

On the next screen, select the searches you want to save by putting a check in the box beside the search. Note: if you applied limits, you will have a new search for each limit you set. Pay attention to which searches you are saving; you can save one, a selection, or all searches. When you have made your selection, click Save.

Screenshot of Save button on Recent Searches page in ProQuest

You will receive a prompt to name your search. I recommend a descriptive name that includes the date you ran the search in ProQuest.

How to set an alert

Setting an alert will allow ProQuest to run your search as frequently as you want it to, and you will receive e-mail alerts when new articles become available that meet your search criteria.

To set an alert, hover your mouse over the small downward arrow beside the word Actions from the Recent Searches menu (the same page for saving searches, described in the box above). From the dropdown menu that appears, click on Create alert. Follow the prompts to confirm your e-mail address and frequency to receive new e-mails.

Screenshot of creating an alert in ProQuest

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