CINAHL Complete- Allied Health Literature

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This guide will walk you step by step through how to find literature in CINAHL Complete, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.

CINAHL is a searchable database that indexes journals, books, dissertations, conference material and audiovisuals in the following subject areas:
• Nursing
• Physical Therapy
• Physician Assistant
• Public Health
• Alternative/Complementary Medicine
• Emergency Services,
• Consumer Health
• Social Work


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Access CINAHL from the library website. Under the “Select a database” menu in the “Find” tab on the top left-hand corner of the screen, scroll down to “CINAHL Complete” and hit Go.

If you are accessing the library website from an off-campus computer, you may be asked to sign in with your EUID and password.

Searching CINAHL

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You are now on the CINAHL Complete home page.

Before you begin searching, it is a good idea to create a free EBSCO account (EBSCO is the company that owns CINAHL and several other databases you may recognize). This way, you can save articles you like to your account and not have to search for them all over again.

**Note** You can also easily export lists of results from your EBSCO account to a citation manager such as EndNote. If you are doing a lot of research and are interested in learning more about citation managers, the library can help you get started.

Select “Sign In” on the top right-hand corner, and then “Create a new Account.”

Once you have finished setting up your account, hit “New Search” on the top left-hand corner of the screen to be taken back to the main search page.

Searching CINAHL

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You should see 3 search bars at the top of the screen and a large “Search Options” box on the lower half.

You can use the Search Options on the home screen to limit your search by:
• Language
• Geography
• Age Group
• Publication Date
• Publication Type
• Subject Category

And more.

Be cautious of limiting your search too much at the beginning, as you risk missing results that could have been of interest to you.

Searching CINAHL

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Let’s say we are interested in finding research on the stress levels of HIV/AIDS patients from the last 5 years.

In the search bars at the top of the page, let’s build a search that will find us a good set of resources.

In the first search bar, type “stress.”

In the second search bar, type “HIV/AIDS.”

Notice that the search bars are connected by dropdown menus with the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT. You can use those drop down menus to connect your search.

For now, make sure the menu between the first two search bars reads AND, which is the default.

Scroll back down to Search Options. Select “English Language” and set the publication dates as January 2011-December 2016.

Viewing & Saving Results

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You should now be seeing a list of about 95 search results.

As you scroll through the search results page, you will see a quick overview of each article, including citation information and the subject headings assigned to it.

Notice that beneath “Current Search,” the search limiters that you applied at the beginning on the home page are displayed.

Viewing & Saving Results

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Take a look at the rest of your filtering options.

Under “Source Types,” limit your search to just academic journals. You should now see your number of search results going down.

You can also expand the additional filter options, such as Publisher, Language, Age, Gender and Geography. We are going to leave those alone for now.

The default sorting option for search results on CINAHL is by “Date Newest.” Above the search results list, click on the filtering drop down menu and sort by “Relevance.”

Click on the “Page Options” menu next to the sorting menu to see your options for viewing the search results page.

Select “Standard” under Result Format and increase your results per page from 20 to 50.

Viewing & Saving Results

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You can save this entire search to your My EBSCOhost account that we created earlier by hitting the “Share” button.

Select “Results (1-50)” to add your first page of results to your folder.

Notice you can  add that search string to your folder for future use, create an email alert to it, or share it on social media.

You can also add individual titles to your folder by clicking the blue folder next to each entry on the search results.

Viewing & Saving Results

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Click on the title of your first search result to be taken to the full record view for that article.

Notice at the top of the page, you are seeing the title of the article, the authors, and the publication information about that work.

Scroll down and take a look at the sections titled “Major Subjects” and “Minor Subjects.”

The subject headings you are seeing come from the internal CINAHL Complete thesaurus. They are terms applied by indexers to describe what the article is about and to help make the database easier to search.

Select any term to be taken to a list of articles that have also had that subject applied, or use the terms to build a search to help you find more articles relevant to your research.

Viewing & Saving Results

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Take a look at the Tools bar on the right hand corner of the page. From here you can save and export your search results.

If you are using a citation manager such as EndNote or RefWorks, select “Export” to save this citation to your library.

Retrieving Full Text Articles

In some instances, a link to the PDF copy of the article will be available on the article view page.

If it is not, look for the green “Find Full Text” button under every search result or on the article view page. Click that button to download a PDF copy of the article from the UNTHSC library collection.

If we do not have a copy of the article available, you should see a link to “Request item.” Follow that link to place an inter-library loan request.

Your EBSCO Folder

Earlier we saved a list of search results to your folder using My EBSCOhost account.

Click on the “Folder” icon on the top right hand corner of the screen to view your search results.

Using your account, you can create collections of search results and easily save them to your computer or export them to a citation management tool.

**Note** If you do not sign into your EBSCO account and save results to the folder, they will be saved temporarily during your session and erased once you leave the database.


That's it, you're finished! You just used CINAHL Complete to search for allied health literature.

Please contact the Library Research Services Office if you have any questions about this guide or other library resources.

We are available M-F from 8am to 5pm at:

(817) 735-2388


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