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Accessing CINAHL

Accessing CINAHL

CINAHL indexes materials for nursing and allied health topics/research literature. Unlike MedLine, it includes book reviews, government publications, nursing dissertations, conference proceedings, and research instruments, educational software and audiovisual materials.

You can access CINAHL from the Library's Information Resources Page and Resources for the College of Health-Related Professions.

If you access CINAHL from off-campus, you will have to login to the Library proxy server.

Keyword Searching

Keyword Searching

When searching for articles, you can search by subject or by keyword. When you search a database by keyword, the system looks for the term you've entered as you've entered it. Spelling and context are important. If you misspell a word, you may not find any results. If you use a word in a different context, you may get results that are not useful. If you use a variant of a word different from what most authors use, you may not get the most important articles. The more terms you include, the more likely you are to get results that are useful.

Searching CINAHL by Keyword

CINAHL defaults to searching by keyword. Enter the term(s) you're looking for an click on the green button labeled "Search".

Subject Searching

Subject Searching

To use the CINAHL subject terms, click on the link labeled "CINAHL" headings in the blue bar at the top of the screen.
Accessing the Subject Heading Database


Within the index, enter the first term you wish to search for.
Searching for Subject Headings


Selecting Subject Headings
The system finds terms that it thinks matches the word(s) you've entered. In this case, it found the term "patient compliance" as entered. When you have decided which term you want to use, click in the box next to that term. DO NOT click on the button for "Search Database" yet.


Adding Additional Terms
When you are ready to add more terms, click on the link labeled "Browse Additional Terms" at the bottom of the page. You can repeat this step as many times as necessary to include all the terms you wish.


When you have selected all the terms you need, combine them using "AND" and then click on the green button labeled "Search Database".
Submitting the Search to CINAHL

Applying Limits

Applying Limits

In addition to including multiple terms, you can refine your search by applying limits to your search. Click on the link labeled "Advanced Search" below the search box.
Advanced Searches in CINAHL


From the Limits screen, you can further refine your search in many ways including the following:

  • Full Text: You can retrieve only those articles that are carried full text on CINAHL. This is not recommended as the most important articles on your topic may not be available through CINAHL.
  • Publication Date: You can retrieve only those articles written during a certain time period.
  • Type of Article: You can retrieve only those articles that are of a particular type .  Examples include reviews, editorials, letters, clinical trials, etc.  
  • English Language: You can retrieve only those aricles written/published in English
  • Peer Reviewed: You can retrieve only those articles published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Ages: You can retrieve only those articles about patients/subjects within a specified age bracket
  • Human: You can retrieve only those articles about studies conducted only on human subjects
  • Gender: You can retrieve only those articles about studies conducted on either male subjects or female subjects or to articles that talk specifically about health issues related to one gender or the other
  • Pregnancy: You can retrieve only those articles that deal with patients/subjects during pregnancy
  • Inpatients/Outpatients: You can retrieve only those articles that deal with patients/subjects on an inpatient/outpatient basis.


Select a limit by clicking in the checkbox next to the limits you wish to select and then click on the green button labeled "Search".
Applying Limits in CINAHL

Search Results

Search Results

Citation in CINAHL
Once you've completed all the steps of your search, you're ready to look at your results. CINAHL originally presents your results in short format. To see a detailed record, click on the title of the article you're interested in.




Abstract in CINAHL
Many journals indexed in CINAHL are available full-text. If this is the case, there will be a link at the side of the record that says "Full Text". If CINAHL does not provide full text access, the journal my still be available electronically. Check the Serials Database for access information.


If the article is not available electronically, it may be available in the Library in print format. Check the Serials Database to see if the Library has a subscription to this journal.


If the Library does not have a subscription to the journal (whether in print or electronically), you can still get the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Getting Help

Getting Help

Getting Help in CINAHL

There is help from EBSCOHost on how to search their databases. This help is not specific to CINAHL, however.

You can get help from anyone at the library for help with your research.

Contact the Library

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