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Medicine: CINAHL

A guide to research resources on medicine and health

General Information

Search Tips

Keyword searches only look in title, abstract and subject heading fields

Common terms will not be as effective as the medical term (listed in CINAHL Headings)

  • e.g., Cardiac Infarction is the medical term for heart attack 

Search options are allow you to preset date ranges, age, sex, language, and geographic area

Search options can also limit:

  • Authors - limit to articles written by nurses
  • Publication type - journal article, book, case study, CEU (continuing education unit), clinical trial, conference, evidence based care sheet, etc. 
  • Meta-synthesis (qualitative research) or meta-analysis (quantitative research) - use these terms (metasynthesis or metaanalysis) to locate qualitative or quantitative studies
  • Journal subset - journals covering specific subjects, e.g., core nursing, health services administration, public health, etc. 
  • Special interest - dental care, emergency care, nutrition, palliative care, etc.

Limits or filters may be applied before or after searching

Search History lists search sets that can be combined in new searches

Navigating CINAHL

The database opens at an advanced search page which allows you to combine topics, set limits, and link to helpful information. Use Search Tips on left to optimize your search:The database opens at an advanced search page which allows you to combine topics, set limits, and link to helpful information:

CINAHL Headings

The most efficient way to search CINAHL is to use the subject headings list. For example, a search on heart attacks yields less than 2,000 results. If we used the subject heading list to identify the appropriate term for heart attack, we find that the preferred term is myocardial infarction:

Searching CINAHL Video Tutorial

Learn to use CINAHL using this short video tutorial: