CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is the well known index to literature in the fields of nursing and allied health. It is in the EBSCOhost platform and includes the full-text of hundreds of journals.
Other resources that are indexed include legal cases, drug records, clinical trials, professional publications, health care books, nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings, and Evidence-Based Care Sheets.
CINAHL Plus with Full Text is an EBSCOhost database so here are some tips on searching in EBSCOhost:
Here's an example of a search for information on professional development for nurses in Australia or New Zealand:
For more on searching in CINAHL Plus with Full Text, read on!!
In the example above, the searching we did was general searching, across all the main fields of the record. You can get better results if you search for articles where your search terms appear in a Subject Heading, also known as a Subject Term.
First, let’s look at an article record in CINAHL.
The screen-shot below shows the full record of a journal article. (We can get this by clicking on the title link in a brief record.) Note that Major Subjects and Minor Subjects have been assigned to this article. This means that someone has read the article and described its content using those subject headings. The subject headings come from an official and authorised list, known as CINAHL Headings :
In many cases, you can make your searching better by searching for articles where your search terms appear in or as a Subject Heading.
So let’s go to our search for professional development for nurses in Australia or New Zealand. In the screen below, we have run the search shown above and received our results.
In the left panel, there are ways that we can refine the results. Notice that the database recommends specific Subject Headings by which we can refine the results. (We need to click on the link for Subject: Major Heading to see these options.)
Notice that there is a subject heading for professional development and various subject headings that contain the term nurs*. So we can confidently search for those terms where they appear in or as subject headings.
Rather than tick the box for one of these subject headings, which would limit the search we have just done, it’s better to do a whole new search for our all or some of our terms as part of subject headings.
Back in the search boxes, we can “force” a subject search, by changing Select a Field (optional) to MW Word in Subject Heading. Our terms will be searched for only in the Subject Heading field(s). There is no point using a proximity operator (N4) in a subject search, so we have removed that (EBSCOhost inserts the AND operator between our two search terms. And we will continue to search for the terms australia* OR new zealand in the main fields of records.
So the new search would be:
In summary, you can:
You might wonder what the Suggest Subject Terms tick-box and the CINAHL Headings tab are for. These represent other more complex ways of matching to and using CINAHL subject headings, utilising the highly structured tree (hierarchy) of headings. This is covered in the page in this guide on Searching Using CINAHL Headings.
In Advanced Search in CINAHL, you can also choose to search in other fields, by selecting them from the drop-down menu at Select a Field (optional):
Here's an example:
Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.
Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.