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Why use CINAHL?  I’ve already searched PubMed (MEDLINE) so why search CINAHL?

CINAHL focuses on nursing and allied health making it easier to find topics of interest to nurses & nursing students, such as nursing theories and models, nursing interventions, etc.

CINAHL includes dissertations, books, book chapters which PubMed (MEDLINE) does not.

You can exclude MEDLINE records by Editing your search: select Edit from the search history, then check Exclude MEDLINE records, followed by Save.


Search Tips…

Truncation –  Use an asterisk (*) at the end of a word to retrieve all the various endings.

  • e.g.
    • Neoplas* = neoplasm OR neoplasms OR neoplastic OR neoplasia
    • nurs* = nurse OR nurses OR nursing OR nursed

Spell out abbreviations
–  searching only by abbreviations misses useful & relevant results.

Find words in a title
– for a quick way to find relevant articles.

  • Type your term in the search box, then from the Select a Field pull-down menu, select TI Title.  (Note that this will override the Suggest Subject Term checkbox.  I.e. you won’t need to change that.)

Subject headings
– use CINAHL Subject headings to…

  • Suggest additional terms to search by. For example, searching on breast cancer will pull up the CINAHL Heading
    • Breast Neoplasms, and also Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast.  Select these to broaden your search
  • Explode.
    • CINAHL Headings are organized by subject which means you can select, or “explode”, a subject to get all of the terms.
      • For example, the heading Antibiotics, “explodes” to include specific drugs such as Aztreonam, Bacitracin, Vancomycin.  This is a quick way to expand your search to include a whole category of drugs or diseases.

Remember AND/OR/NOT to combine your searches –

  • Need to narrow your search?
    • Use AND to combine sets: teaching AND hospice care
  • Need to broaden your search?
    • Use OR to get more: hospice care OR end of life care
  • Want to exclude something?
    • Use NOT: hospice care NOT Reviews
  • Get fancy – put it all together using parenthesis to keep the sets in correct order
    • teaching AND (hospice care OR end of life care) NOT reviews

Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, reference, and marketing for the University of Missouri Libraries.