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NURS 4610: Translating Evidence for Nursing Practice: Searching CINAHL

CINAHL (Cumulative Index to the Nursing and Allied Health Literature)

CINAHL is an essential resource for locating journal articles from the nursing and allied health literature.  It is an electronic database providing indexing and full-text to articles from over 5,000 journals ‚Äčwith coverage dating back to 1937.  In addition to journal articles, CINAHL provides access to evidence-based care sheets which summarize the latest research evidence on various healthcare topics of clinical significance.  Also indexed in CINAHL are student dissertations, conference proceedings, audiovisuals, books, book chapters, and more.  

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Searching CINAHL for Research Articles

This video provides a live demonstration of CINAHL by UToledo Nursing Librarian Jodi Jameson.  


The EBSCOhost tutorials below will advise you to check the Full-Text limit.  Please do not do this, as it will restrict your search to EBSCO-only content, and will eliminate the full-text of additional articles available via the UToledo Libraries or articles that you can obtain via interlibrary loan.  

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Advanced Keyword Searching in CINAHL

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Using Subject Headings to Search CINAHL


Click here to access CINAHL either on or off-campus.  If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to authenticate by entering your first and last name, and Rocket number.  

Keyword and Subject Heading Searches

To locate articles on a topic in CINAHL, there are two ways of searching: 1) keyword or 2) subject heading.  

Keyword searching is a good way to begin your search, especially if you are not sure of the exact terminology to use as search terms. Search results will be based on the exact keywords that you entered.  As you sift through your search results, you will begin to recognize additional terminology to use in your search strategy to locate more relevant articles.  It will also help you to identify subject headings to use in a more advanced search.  See a video tutorial here.  

Subject heading searching is a targeted way to search for articles.  Articles in CINAHL have been indexed with CINAHL Headings, which work like a thesaurus.  If there is more than one way of describing a concept or topic (i.e. hypertension or high blood pressure), the subject heading will take all of those varieties into consideration - saving you the time of having to experiment with different keywords.  See a video tutorial here.

Using Limiters to Narrow Results

On the left side of your search results page, under Limit To, you will notice some options to refine your search results, including Publication Date, Research Article and Peer-Reviewed.  Click the Show More link to display a full menu of limits.  

Viewing and Saving Your Search History

While you search, CINAHL keeps track of your search terms, including keywords, subject headings, and any limits applied, as well as the number of results retrieved for each search.  To access your search history, click the link located above your search results. You may then take a screenshot or screen capture of your search history to quickly save it, or you can also follow the steps in Saving Search Histories