Resources for: Resources For Non-Affiliated Preceptors

Freely available resources to help support you as mentors and professional role models to help train the next generation of healthcare professionals

Getting Started

Databases & Scholarly Articles

PubMed:  PubMed is a free resource supporting the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature.  The PubMed database contains more than 32 million citations and abstracts of biomedical literature. It does not include full text journal articles; however, links to the full text are often present when available from other sources, such as the publisher's website or PubMed Central (PMC).

  • Finding the full text article: try the free full text filter.  On the filter sidebar, click "Free full text" to narrow results to resources that are available for free on the web, including PubMed Central, Bookshelf, and publishers' websites. Alternately, include free full text[Filter] in your query. For more ways to find free full text in PubMed, see How can I get the full text article?

  • PubMed Help Guide

Electronic Library of Minnesota: anyone with an IP address in Minnesota can access for free the databases found in eLibraryMN.

  • List of relevant databases:
    • Academic Search Premier: Thousands of scholarly publications across all academic disciplines (includes the full text of major medical journals such as JAMA & NEJM).
    • Alt Health Watch: International journals covering complementary, holistic, and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.

    • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition: Scholarly and professional publications across all medical disciplines including strong coverage of nursing and allied health.

    • Consumer Health Complete: Popular and professionally written information for patients and consumers covering all health-related topics from mainstream medicine to the many perspectives of complementary, holistic, and integrated medicine

    • CINAHL Complete: link opens in a new windowProvides more than 460 active, full-text non-open access journals dating back to 1962 and includes searchable cited references for more than 1,500 journals with more than 3,800 active indexed journals.
    • ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health PremiumThis link opens in a new windowSupporting students, instructors, researchers, and healthcare professionals, ProQuest's Nursing & Allied Health Premium offers over 700 scholarly journals, 350+ training videos, and provides a unique immersive user experience.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.  Search by journal or article(s).


Electronic Library of Minnesota: anyone with an IP address in Minnesota can access for free the ebooks found in eLibraryMN

  • Searching Tips:  Use keywords in the search box.  From the results page, use the filters on the left to limit results to books.

IntechOpen - Health Sciences: Over 1500 peer-reviewed open access textbooks

Merck Manual for the Professional: One of the most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers.

National Academies Press Publishes reports by the National Academy of Sciences on science and science policy. Topics include agriculture, biology, computers, energy, the environment, engineering, food, medicine and health, space, social sciences, transportation, and more.

NCBI Bookshelf: Provides free access to books and documents in medicine and the life sciences.

Open Textbook Library: Open textbooks are licensed by authors and publishers to be freely used and adapted. Download, edit and distribute them at no cost. The Open Textbook Library is supported by the Open Education Network.

Library Research Toolkit

Resources, tips, and guidelines to help you through the research process.

Finding Information

Library Research Checklist
Helpful hints for starting a library research project.

Search Strategy Checklist and Tips
Helpful tips on how to develop a literature search strategy.

Boolean Operators: A Cheat Sheet
Boolean logic (named after mathematician George Boole) is a system of logic to designed to yield optimal search results. The Boolean operators, AND, OR, and NOT, help you construct a logical search. Boolean operators act on sets -- groups of records containing a particular word or concept.

Literature Searching
Overview and tips on how to conduct a literature search.

Health Statistics and Data Sources
Health related statistics and data sources are increasingly available on the Internet. They can be found already neatly packaged, or as raw data sets. The most reliable data comes from governmental sources or health-care professional organizations.

Evaluating Information

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources in the Health Sciences
Understand what are considered primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

Scholarly vs Popular Journals/Magazines
How to determine what are scholarly journals vs trade or popular magazines.

Identifying Peer-Reviewed Journals
A “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” journal is one in which the articles it contains have been examined by people with credentials in the article’s field of study before it is published.

Evaluating Web  Resources
When searching for information on the Internet, it is important to be aware of the quality of the information being presented to you. Keep in mind that anyone can host a web site. To be sure that the information you are looking at is credible and of value.

Conducting Research Through An Anti-Racism Lens
This guide is for students, staff, and faculty who are incorporating an anti-racist lens at all stages of the research life cycle.

Understanding Research Study Designs
Covers case studies, randomized control trials, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Qualitative Studies
Overview of what is a qualitative study and how to recognize, find and critically appraise.

Writing and Publishing

Citing Sources
Citations are brief notations in the body of a research paper that point to a source in the bibliography or references cited section.

Structure of a Research Paper
Reports of research studies usually follow the IMRAD format. IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for the major components of a scientific paper. These elements are included in the overall structure of a research paper.

Top Reasons for Non-Acceptance of Scientific Articles
Avoid these mistakes when preparing an article for publication.

Annotated Bibliographies
Guide on how to create an annotated bibliography.

Writing guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological and Health Sciences
Style manuals, citation guides as well as information on public access policies, copyright and plagiarism.

Evidence Based Practice or EBP

5 Steps of EBP


Use the five "A's" to remember the critical steps of the evidence-based practice process:

ASK the answerable clinical question.

ACQUIRE the most relevant and best evidence to answer the question.

APPRAISE the evidence critically for validity, relevance, and applicability.

APPLY the evidence, along with critical expertise and the patient's preferences and values.

ASSESS the effectiveness and efficiency of the previous four steps and seek ways to improve one's ability to ask, acquire, appraise, and apply.

Asking the Question


The "Well-Built Clinical Question"


The first part of any research is identifying the question you want to answer. This is very important because the more you understand your question the more likely you are to obtain relevant results. The process of formulating a good search question is known in evidence-based health care as “the well-built clinical question.”* One way of building your search question starts with the patient and is known as PICO, which stands for:

  • P - Patient or Population or Problem/Disease
    • Who or what is the question about? This may include the primary problem, disease, or circumstances. Sometimes the sex, age, or race of a patient might be relevant to the diagnosis or treatment of a disease.
  • I - Intervention, Exposure or Prognostic Factor
    • What main intervention/treatment are you considering? What factor may influence the prognosis of the patient, such as age or comorbidities? What was the patient exposed to?
  • C - Comparison(s) or Control
    • What alternative intervention are you considering, if any? For example, you might be comparing the efficacy of two medications or the accuracy of two diagnostic tests. Your clinical question does not have to always have a specific comparison.
  • O - Outcome(s)
    • What are you trying to accomplish or measure? What are you trying to do for the patient or problem? Examples might include managing a disease, alleviating symptoms, preventing a disease, etc.
  • T - Timeframe (optional)
    • What's the amount of time that you'll be observing the patient or problem. For example, improving rates of hospital-acquired infections over the course of a year.

Also consider the two Ts


Type of Question

  • Diagnosis : How to select and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Therapy : How to select treatments to offer patients that do more good than harm and that are worth the efforts and costs of using them
  • Prognosis : How to estimate the patient’s likely clinical course over time and anticipate likely complications of disease
  • Etiology : How to identify causes for disease, including genetics

Type of Study

For more information on the next two As -- Acquiring the Evidence (literature searching) and Appraising the Evidence see the complete Evidence Based Practice LibGuide.


Citation Managers


Mendeley Reference Manager is a free web and desktop reference management application. It helps you simplify your reference management workflow.  With Mendeley Reference Manager you can:

  • Store, organize and search all your references from just one library.
  • Seamlessly insert references and bibliographies into your Microsoft® Word documents using Mendeley Cite.
  • Read, highlight and annotate PDFs, and keep all your thoughts across multiple documents in one place.
  • Collaborate with others by sharing references and ideas.

Mendeley Features


Free. Pay for more PDF storage.


Many citation styles

Works With

Microsoft Word


2GB free

PDF Reader



PDF sharing limited to 5 groups; Unlimited citation sharing

Mendeley Support

Mendeley guides and tutorials from
Mendeley Support Center for technical issues and errors


Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

  •  Sort items into collections and tag them with keywords. Or create saved searches that automatically fill with relevant materials as you work.
  • Create references and bibliographies for any text editor, and directly inside Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. With support for over 9,000 citation styles, you can format your work to match any style guide or publication.
  • Synchronize your data across devices, keeping your notes, files, and bibliographic records seamlessly up to date.
  • Lets you co-write a paper with a colleague, distribute course materials to students, or build a collaborative bibliography. You can share a Zotero library with as many people you like, at no cost.

Zotero Features


Free. Pay for more PDF storage


Many citation styles

Works With

Microsoft Word, Google Docs


300 MB free

PDF Reader



Unlimited groups and citation sharing


Extend Zotero with many useful 3rd party plug-ins

Zotero Support

Zotero guides and tutorials from

Zotero forums for technical issues and support

Last Updated: Aug 28, 2023 2:27 PM