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Database Tutorials

This LibGuide contains step by step instructions for majority of research databases available in the Wolfgram collection.

CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature)

About this Database

CINAHL provides indexing of the top nursing and allied health literature available including nursing journals and publications from the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association. 

This database covers a wide range of topics including:

  • Nursing
  • Biomedicine
  • Health sciences librarianship
  • Alternative/complementary medicine
  • Consumer health
  • Allied health disciplines

In addition, CINAHL provides access to health care books, nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, audiovisuals, and book chapters.

CINAHL Search Tips & Tricks

Step 1: Pick your search terms

Before you begin searching, think about the terms you want to use.  Take a moment to brainstorm any potential synonyms for your search terms.  Is there a more technical term used by people in the field?  Are there brand name or generic options?  Is there a word that may have been used in the past but is now considered outdated? 

Step 2: Use the Subject Headings

Now that you have your list of potential search terms, you can use a feature in CINAHL that will help you get the most relevant information.  Databases are collections of published information and they arrange that information so it can easily be found by linking it to a topic.  The topic, or subject heading, is the best way to find the information you need and they made it easy for you to find using the top menu, as seen below.

screenshot of CINAHL interface with CINAHL Subject Headings highlighted in yellow

Once you select "CINAHL Subject Headings" you will be taken to a new search bar

screenshot of CINAHL Subjet Heading search interface

This is where you will type in the search terms that you selected in step 1.  Entering a term will open a list of subject headings that CINAHL uses to link all of the information in this database.  Below is a quick guide to reading this list of subject headings.

screenshot of CINAHL Subject Headings search results with labels

  1. The text after the colon is the term you searched for
  2. The preferred term, or subject heading, that the database uses to link information
  3. The small chat bubble icon contains a "scope note" or short definition of the subject heading
  4. Checking the "major concept" tick box adds the subject heading to your search term list on the right
  5. The "search database" button will turn green once you add subject headings using the major concept tick box, selecting this button will perform your search with the database-approved subject headings

Step 3: Limit your results

The left menu of your search results contains tools that will help narrow down your results.  These include the option to limit to "Full-Text" so your results will be accessible through the library or inter-library loan, the publication date range, and the types of sources (i.e. journal articles, ebooks, etc.).

screenshot of CINAHL search filters