CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is a powerful research database used by nurses, allied health professionals, researchers, nurse educators and students. It covers a wide range of topics:

  • nursing
  • biomedicine
  • alternative medicine
  • consumer health
  • 17 allied health disciplines

In addition, CINAHL Database provides access to:

  • health care books
  • nursing dissertations
  • selected conference proceedings
  • standards of practice
  • audiovisuals and book chapters
  • full-text journals
  • legal cases
  • clinical innovations
  • critical paths
  • research instruments
  • clinical trials

Why Use CINAHL Instead of or in Addition to PubMed?

  • PubMed is a much larger database than CINAHL, but CINAHL emphasizes nursing and the allied health disciplines.
  • In addition to journal articles, CINAHL includes books, book chapters, dissertations, and computer programs. PubMed does not.
  • There is an overlap in the journals indexed by these two databases. When searching CINAHL, you can easily limit your search to material NOT indexed by PubMed by checking the box “Exclude Medline records.”
  • We recommend that you search both PubMed and CINAHL if you wish to do a more complete literature review.

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CINAHL Search Tips

Truncation or wildcard

  • Truncate using * after a word root: child* = childbirth, children, etc.
  • Replace a single character with ? as in centrali?ed = centralized or centralised.

To find words in a title (an excellent way to locate highly relevant articles quickly)

  • TI TOBACCO and TI CESSATION finds these words in titles but in any order.

For phrases or word adjacency

  • Enclose a phrase in quotes, e.g., TI “TOBACCO CESSATION”.
  • Search for words near each other: TOBACCO W6 CESSATION requires the words TOBACCO and CESSATION to be within 6 words of each other.

Advanced Search

  • To search using subject headings, title words, author name, etc., use the Advanced Search, which provides multiple search boxes, field labels, and Boolean logic (i.e. AND, OR, NOT).
  • To identify subject headings for the concept of comfort care, click on CINAHL Headings in the tool bar above the search box. Type in your term and view the list of subject headings. You can select one or more headings, make them the focal point by checking “Major Concept”, and select AND or OR or NOT to combine the selected headings. Subheadings are also available in to further focus your search.

Citation Matcher

  • You can access the Citation Matcher search screen to search for article citations for which you have incorrect or incomplete information.
  • On the Citation Matcher search screen, enter as much information as you have into the fields provided (Publication, Volume, Author, Title, etc.) and click Search.
  • A result list will be displayed that matches the information you provided in the Citation Matcher fields. Browse the result list to locate the citation you are searching for.

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