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Nursing Resources: CINAHL searching guide

CINAHL searching guide

Go to CINAHL Complete

CINAHL is a research database that indexes many nursing journals and allows you to search by keyword for articles on your research topic. CINAHL also provides the full articles for many nursing and allied health journals, providing full articles for more than 520 journals indexed in CINAHL. Includes coverage of over 1,200 professional journals in nursing and 17 allied health disciplines, with coverage as far back as 1982.

Tips for searching CINAHL:

CINAHL can be accessed on the library website under Databases or under Research Guides choose Nursing. When accessing from off-campus, you will be asked to enter your username (firstname.lastname) and your Salve password. 

  • Usually when you first access CINAHL through the library webpage, you will see the basic search page. For easier searching, click on the Advanced Search link under the search box.

CINAHL Advanced Search

  • The CINAHL Advanced Search page will allow you to enter multiple keywords to search for articles by topic. Think about the main topic of your research question, then pull out the main keywords for that topic and enter ONE keyword in each search box. (For example, do not enter Does helmet use reduce head injury but instead enter head injuries in the top search box and helmets in the second search box.) Choose AND, OR, NOT in drop-down menus to connect keywords. In most cases, you will want to search for 2 or more keywords using AND. Then click search.

  • If you are not sure of the correct terminology for your research topic, try using the CINAHL Headings link to look up your topic. This link is located along the top of the screen in the blue bar.

  • CINAHL headings example: The term helmets is not used in CINAHL, instead use the term head protective devices. Using the correct subject term according to the CINAHL headings will help you to find more articles that are specifically on your topic.
  • Important search limiters available in CINAHL: Full text - limits your search to articles where the complete full-text will be available directly in CINAHL. Peer reviewed - limits your search to articles that come from scholarly academic journals. Research article - limits your search to articles that directly report the results of the author's own original research study or experimentation. 

  • The first ten articles found by your search are on the first page of results. Click on the page numbers to go to the second page of results.
  • Look through the articles found by your search. If your keywords are not working, try using the CINAHL headings (link is on top blue bar) to find an alternate term for your topic, or try user fewer keywords to get a more general search. It is better to start with a search that is broad and then narrow down your search if needed.
    • If the full article is available in CINAHL there will be a link labeled full-text.

  • If you are in a hurry, try limiting your search to full-text and peer-reviewed. This will make it quicker to get to scholarly articles that are fully available directly in CINAHL. Please note that if the full text of a particular article is not in CINAHL, it is possible that the library has this article available in full text in another database. Look up the article's journal title in our Journals List to see whether the full-text is available in another library database. If you need an article that is not available in our e-journal subscriptions, please use Interlibrary Loan to request the article.
  • To print, email, save, or cite a certain CINAHL article, click on the article's title link to go to the detailed display of info on that article. Then use the small icons on the top right to print, email, save or cite.

Subject Guide