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NURS 1110: Intro to Professional Nursing (Old): Primary & Secondary Sources

Your Guide to the NURS 1110 Nurse Leaders Assignment

This guide will assist you in conducting nurse leader research for NURS 1110 - Introduction to Professional Nursing.

You will...

... be introduced to nursing resources through the Nursing Research Guide.

... understand the difference between primary and secondary sources and how to locate primary sources.

... learn how to properly attribute the original ideas of others through the use of APA style.


If you aren't sure what the differences are between primary and secondary sources, or would just like a refresher, please check out our Primary & Secondary Sources guide. If you have a source and aren't sure what it is, please Ask a Librarian!

A Selection of Primary Source Books

Below is a selection of primary source books that will be useful depending on the nurse leader you're researching. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. You should search for your leader using the Books tab on the homepage. Primary sources come in many forms, such as: correspondence, documents, manuscripts, personal narratives, quotations, reports, speeches, or law.

Newspaper & Scholarly Journal Databases

Newspaper Databases

Sometimes nurse leaders wrote articles of their own that appeared in newspapers or magazines. However, it's more likely that there were articles written about your nurse leader during the time that they were alive and practicing. These are considered primary sources. When looking for articles, narrow the search results to the time when your leader was alive to see what's available.

Scholarly Sources Written by Nurse Leaders

Some nurse leaders contributed professional literature to the field which can be found in many of our health science databases. This is particularly the case for contemporary leaders.

There are many ways to access their research, but a good strategy is to search a database like the ones below specifically by author name. By default, the database will search for their name within titles, abstracts, or even within the references of an article. This generates a lot of 'false positives', or results that aren't actually what you want to find. Limiting your search only to the author field will reduce the number of false positives.

Websites with Primary Sources

Below are a few websites that have large amounts of primary sources and have proven useful for this assignment. Keep in mind that any website can be changed without notice, so be sure to evaluate every site you use.  For help evaluating websites, see our evaluating websites page.

Library of Congress -
A growing collection of primary resources collected by the Library of Congress.

Google Book Search -
Use the advanced search and limit your search to the years that you are researching.

Google News Archive -
Contains some digitized historical newspapers.  Important note: Do not pay for any articles!  If you need an article that is unavailable and you cannot find it through the library's databases, please contact a librarian.

New York Public Library - Digital Gallery-
Provides free and open access to over 700,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.

Primary Sources on Contemporary Nursing Leaders

In order to locate information on contemporary nursing leaders you may need to be more flexible. Some nurse leaders are still active in the field, or may not publish as much as others. Below are some tips for finding general information as well as primary sources for contemporary nursing leaders.

Author Search on Library Website  - Search the library website to see if the library has access to any publications written by your nursing leader. Click the "advanced search" link for the author search option.

YouTube - Search YouTube for interviews and videos of your nursing leaders. YouTube might also contain news videos where your leader is mentioned.

Google - Search Google and include the terms speeches or interviews if you are looking for primary sources. Also a quick google search will most likely tell you about particular affiliations/organizations your nurisng leader might be a part of. Once you get this information look up the affiliations/organizations directly.

LinkedIn - Searching Linkedin is great for gaining background information and it will also display any publications of your nursing leader.

Looking for more Nursing related resources?