Objectives Upon completion of this module the participant will understand: Why searching with subject headings is beneficial. How to search Cinahl with subject headings. How to limit a search and access the results.
What is Cinahl? Cinahl stands for: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. It indexes: journal articles, healthcare books, nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings, and standards of professional practice, educational software, and publications of the American Nurses Association & the National League of Nursing It covers: 1982 to present and 70% of it’s references are also in Medline
Cinahl Basics To access Cinahl from the Health Sciences Library website, place your cursor over the Quick Links tab and click on CINAHL.
Cinahl Basics Often our first instinct is to write out a search phrase like we might on Google. But this will often confuse the database and you will get few or irrelevant results.
Cinahl Basics Breaking up your research question into different topics not only makes the job easier on the database, it allows you to conceptualize your search more clearly. For example “Can music therapy improve sleeping patterns?” Becomes: + Music Therapy Sleeping Patterns
Cinahl Basics Conceptualizing your research question in this way may bring to mind further concepts that will greaten your search results. + Music Therapy Sleeping Patterns Music Sleeping Disorders Singing REM cycles
Cinahl Basics So how do we combine all of our concepts into one search?
Cinahl Basics If you do a keyword search the database will simply look for the same words in articles regardless of if they are being used with the same concepts as yours or not.
Cinahl Basics Luckily an actual person goes through the articles and gives tghem all subject headings to label the articles’ “aboutness”. This may seem like an old concept, but using subject headings creates a concise and consistent way to do research. …and we don’t need to use the actual card catalogs anymore.
Cinahl Basics Subject Headings are often thought of as resembling tree branches. Notice how subjects narrow into more specific concepts.
Searching Here’s an example of using subject headings to research the effects of music therapy on sleeping. We’ll start by ticking the box to suggest subject terms and enter “sleep” into one of the search boxes. Note that starting with “sleep” instead of “sleeping patterns” will yield a broader range of results. Click Search.
Searching We’re presented a list of subject headings that deal with sleep.
Searching To learn about a particular term, click on the scope note icon and a definition will be displayed.
Searching To view how a subject heading has been placed within the hierarchical structure, click on one of the linked terms.
Searching To select a term tick the box to the left of it. Check the box to the right (if possible) to also search for all the terms under it. This is called “exploding.” For example, by exploding the term “sleep” we’re also searching with the terms under and indented from it. It’s best practice to begin a search by exploding all of your terms if you can to keep your search results broad.
Searching Note that you have the choice to make the term a major concept of the search. You also have the option to choose specific subheadings to narrow your search. It’s a good idea to first include all of the subheadings in order to have a broader range of results. Leave these two options as they are to keep the search broad initially.
Searching Instead of clicking the big Search Database button, we’ll click on the “back to term list” link in the upper left corner. This way we will go back to our original subject heading list from when we searched with “sleep” and select some other subject headings as well. You will not need to do this if you did not click on a term from the list to view the hierarchy of the terms.
Searching We’ll use and explode the terms sleep and sleep disorders. Note that the box on the right of the screen states that we can combine these terms with AND or OR. Searching with AND will only find articles that have been given BOTH subject headings, so we want to use OR to search for articles with EITHER one or more of these subject headings. Selecting Exploding Leave these alone Search the Database
Searching Clicking the search button will present the search results, but we still have to combine the music therapy aspect of the search. So type music therapy in the search box and click Search.
Searching After going through the same process as before, we can decide which subject terms to use for Music Therapy. We don’t have the option to explode this time. Click to search. Select Leave these alone.
Combining Terms The results screen will only have the results from the Music Therapy Search; we need to combine it with the sleep terms. By selecting both terms and searching with AND we are telling the database to find articles with subject headings from both searches: Music Therapy AND (Sleep or Sleep Disorders)
Results The results listed will always be the top search shown in the green Search History box. Note the number of results listed and that you have some options to limit these results. Click on Edit in the search history or Show More on the left side of the results for a view of all the different limits possible.
Results Some of the result options are publication type, publication year range and age of participants/patients in the article. You can scroll through all the different publications types, including systematic review and clinical trial. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button to use your chosen limits.
Results To view the abstract and other information about an article, click on the title.
Results If there is a PDF or HTML full text available of the article in Cinahl, there will be a link on the left side of the screen. Note that the right side of the screen there are options for saving the record, including citing it, emailing, and exporting it. You can export directly into Refworks here if you use it as a citation tool.
Results If there is not a PDF or HTML full text link available, this does not mean that the library does not have access to the article. We may have the article available in another database or in print. To check, go to the library’s website at library.luhs.org. Then click on the Find a Journal link at the top right corner of the screen or on the left sidebar.
Results Type the name of the journal the article you want was published within. Then hit enter or click on the little arrow next to the search box. A list of journals will appear. Click on the name of the journal you want. Note that electronic databases with access to the journal will show what dates we have available. If Pegasus is listed, this means we have the journal in print, but you will have to click on the link to see what years we have. Electronic Print
Results If you have the option of getting electronic access to the journal, click on the link. There are various different databases that have electronic access to journals, but they all have the same basic search techniques. You can usually search by title (make sure to search within all issues instead of the current issue) or by clicking through the specific years and volumes.
Results If you could not find the journal using “Find a Journal” you can still get access to it! The library will buy access to the article for you by borrowing it from another library. This is called interlibrary-loaning. It usually only takes about a day or two. To interlibrary-loan an article fill out the form located here on our website:
Ask a Librarian! If you need any further help using Cinahl, don’t hesitate to contact a librarian. We’re here to help you! (708) 216-9192 firstname.lastname@example.org We will also do a search for you and email you a list of citations if you like. To do this, fill out the form here: