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Structured searching for health students (using CINAHL and other databases)

Searching CINAHL

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Searching CINAHL

This section of the guide will cover:

  • Using Boolean operators
  • Using advanced search techniques
  • Refining your search
  • Viewing your results
  • Using subject headings

Using Boolean operators

When you search for information, it’s very easy to get too many results or results that aren't very relevant. When you type in more than one search term, you can link them together with AND or OR.  These are known as Boolean operators. If you are unsure of how Boolean operators work, see the section 'What are Boolean operators?' on the Planning your search page.

The written guidance and video tutorial below show how to use Boolean operators in CINAHL.

Written Guidance

Video Tutorial  
Picture of a note pad and pencil video camera

 

Using advanced searching techniques

There are a number of techniques you can use to improve the thoroughness of your searches. Two of the main advanced searching techniques used in CINAHL are truncation and phase searching. The written guidance and video tutorial below show how to use advanced searching techniques in CINAHL.

Written Guidance

Video Tutorial  

Picture of a note pad and pencil video camera

 

Refining your search

Once you have completed your search in CINAHL you may need to refine your search further in order to get the best results. To do this you can:

  • Use the limits in CINAHL.
  • Check and refine the keywords and Boolean operators you have used in your search strategy.

The written guidance and video tutorial below show how to do this in CINAHL.

Written Guidance

Video Tutorial  

Picture of a note pad and pencil video camera

Viewing your results

Once you have found some useful items in CINAHL, the next step is opening them to read the full text. The written guidance and video tutorial below show how to do this. 

Written Guidance

Video Tutorial  

Picture of a note pad and pencil video camera

Using subject headings

CINAHL subject terms, also known as subject headings, are a list of words or phrases that use controlled vocabulary to describe specific concepts. The written guidance and video below explain how to use these subject headings in CINAHL. 

Written Guidance

Video Tutorial  

Picture of a note pad and pencil video camera