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NRS221 Research Skills Guide: CINAHL Plus

Introduction

As mentioned on the Journal Databases page, CSU Library has many Nursing Journal Databases which you can use for your studies. 

This section will specifically look at searching the EBSCOHost database CINAHL Plus with Full Text

CINAHL stands for Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. It is a sound choice to begin your database searching for several reasons:

  1. CINAHL is a targeted resource, with specific sources if scholarly material in Nursing and Allied Health, so your search results are likely to be more relevant.
  2. It is an EBSCOHost database, which means it has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, which is common across many databases.
  3. It is widely used for higher level Evidence-Based Practice subjects, so you will benefit from getting to know it at this introductory level.

Topic searching in CINAHL

  • When you log in to CINAHL Plus with Full Text, you get the EBSCOhost Advanced Search screen, with CINAHL Plus with Full Text as the selected database :

  • You can use the multiple search boxes to carry out complex searches.
  • Note that Select a Field (optional) means that EBSCOhost will search for your words in the main fields of each record. In a CINAHL search, these will be the title, abstract, and subject headings. This is the default, but it can be changed.
  • Remember, EBSCOhost databases default to keyword searching. This means that that if you type in more than one word, EBSCOhost will insert the AND operator between them. If you wish to search for a phrase, you need to enclose the words in double quotation marks.
  • For example, typing in ... nursing home ... will search for nursing AND home, while typing in ... "nursing home" ... will search or that specific phrase.
  • In EBSCOhost, you can “truncate” a phrase. So typing in "speech patholog*" in the search box will search for "speech pathology" or "speech pathologist" or "speech pathologists".

Example: to search for articles on speech pathology in relation to communication and dementia, we could do this search:

CINAHL search showing keyword search and phrase search, using two lines of search with the AND operator between them.

Note #1: it's not necessary to insert the AND operator between communicat* and dementia. The database will do that for us.

Note #2: we have used the term "speech language pathology" because it's the term used in America. It's also the term used in CINAHL (Subject) Headings.

Searching in CINAHL Plus

Advanced searching in CINAHL

Go to CINAHL Plusand try an advanced search. One of the benefits of these types of searches is that you can also choose to search in other fields, by selecting them from the drop-down menu at Select a Field (optional):

  • TI Title. Searching for your terms where they appear in the title is another way of finding articles that are more likely to be relevant to your topic. You need to be careful with this, as authors sometimes choose catchy or quirky titles for their articles and they might not accurately represent the content in the same way as subject headings do.
  • AU Author. Use this to search for articles by an author.
  • SO Publication. Use this to search for articles from a particular journal.

Activity

Go to CINAHL Plus  and try typing in  – "attitudes on aging"

  • Being a Nursing database, you can be assured that your results will be more relevant to your topic than those you'd find elsewhere.
  • Look at the HTML and PDF links to access the full text of the article.
  • If you cannot find the full text click on the Find it at CSU button to check if the article is available elsewhere.