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Nursing Program: CINAHL Demonstrations

CINAHL Database

This is a link to the CINAHL database. The boxes below include tips & tricks for using CINAHL. 

"Blue Bar" Efficiencies Video Clip

Truncation *

Take advantage of the truncation symbol * -- the asterisk used at the end of a word tells the search engine you want all forms of that word.

For example, putting the * at the end of metabol* will search for metabolism, metabolite, metabolic all in one search.
Another example - putting the * at the end of digest* will search for digest, digests, digestive, digestion, digesting all in one search. 

This will result in a larger search result if your search is already too big, this isn't a great tool to use.  On the other hand, if you're not sure you're getting a good glimpse at all of the articles you should be, then doing a truncation search can help you see more!

Searching CINAHL Video Clips

"Phrase Searching"

Use search tips such as putting "quotation marks" around words you want kept together in your search. The databases will look for each word separately unless you tell them you want them searched as a phrase.

For example, you might try putting in the terms "stem cells" in quotes and then adding cancer as an additional term.  This will ensure the words "stem cells" are next to each other when searching the database which should result in a more focused search.  The word cancer could be found anywhere in the record.

If the words stem cells cancer are typed into the search box in a string, the database would look for those words anywhere in the record. This is not always a poor option, but putting quotation marks around specific phrases helps narrow the search.

Keep in mind that if you do use quotes, put them around terms that make sense next to each other. If you put "stem cells cancer" in quotes, the database needs to find those three words in a row. That would rarely happen considering we typically wouldn't write "stem cells cancer" too often. Anything in quotes needs to be found in the article or descriptors exactly as you typed it.



Always take a few seconds to note the Subjects used on articles you like. These can be great terms to use to start another search or to try in another database. For example, if you typed the words newborn screening in a search box and you found a fantastic article, you'd want to note that subject terms used for that article are Genetic Screening - In Infancy and Childhood.  Then you could use those Subject terms to search for additional articles in the databases.