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NURS 4318: Nurse as Research Consumer: Home

Finding Appropriate Articles in CINAHL and more!

What's a keyword?

It's really important to distill your topic down into searchable keywords. You might need to change your keyword language or spelling, or use connecting words like and, or, and not to combine your keywords to get good results.

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Using CINAHL Search Filters

CINAHL  is a core nursing database. It also has a great selection of filters you can use to look at subsets of your results. Some of the filters you will want to pay attention to for this assignment are:

  • Journal Subset (pull-down menu; choose Nursing)
  • Any Author is Nurse (checkbox)
  • Published Date (pull-down menus to specify a date range)
  • First Author is Nurse (checkbox)

And any other filters that would be helpful for your topic, like Age.

Combining Your Keywords

The three words that you can use to combine your search keywords most efficiently are: andor, and not. Take a look at the image to the right to get a sense of how they work. 

AND tends to narrow searches because all words must be included in results.

OR tends to broaden searches because one or other terms (or all) can be present in results.

NOT selectively eliminates any results containing a specified word.

The two symbols you can also use to further refine your search keywords are "quotation marks" and the asterisk *.

"Quotation marks" searches for groups of words together. This works best if you are looking for a title or phrase.  

The asterisk * is usually found above the number eight on most keyboards. Use the asterisk * to abbreviate words so you can find all possible spelling variations in your search results. It will also make your search results increase, typically.

Here's an example of what a keyword search might look like in CINAHL:

Keyword Searching for Research Method

You can use a keyword to help you find sources by their research method! This will save you time that you might otherwise spend skimming the article looking for the research method.

Subject headings are specific terms that are linked to articles in databases and function at times like tags or categories. In library jargon terms, they are also described as controlled vocabulary. You can find subject headings in databases typically in the database's thesaurus. You can combine subject headings using the thesaurus using the same connecting words.

CINAHL and MeSH subject headings are similar but not the same!

  • Medical Subject Headings or MeSH, which is the National Library of Medicine's (PubMed, Medline) controlled vocabulary thesaurus. Each article in PubMed or Medline is associated with a set of MeSH terms that are assigned to describe the content of an article.
  • CINAHL Subject Headings are based on MeSH (though are not identical) and native to the CINAHL database. Each article in the database is associated with a set of CINAHL subject terms that are assigned to describe the content of an article.

You can combine keyword search terms in PubMed and search with and combine subject headings, too! The search interface looks a little different:

The filters in PubMed are on the left-hand side on the result list.

Take a look at the author list to see their affiliations. You may need to use lateral reading to verify their professional status. Lateral reading is using other websites and sources to verify claims and content on websites you are evaluating. It is a strategy used by professional fact-checkers. Google the author(s) to find out if they are nurses. 

If the full-text of the article is unavailable in the database or via Google Scholar use the Interlibrary Loan Service (ILL) to order the article or book to be delivered online or physically to you. It's fast and quick, and best of all, you already have an account - just activate by logging in to Tipasa with your IslandID and password! 

If you truly can't wait and have the time and resources to travel to another library in Texas, you can get a TexShare card at the Circulation desk that will allow you to check out books at other university and public libraries throughout the state. 

Ask Us!

  • Call: 361-825-2340
  • Text: 361-726-4986
  • Email us
  • Visit the Circulation Desk in Bell Library

Databases - Gathering Information for Your Evidence Tables

For this assignment you must use two databases, and one needs to be CINAHL. You can link to CINAHL here or at the library's Nursing and Health Sciences database list from the library's website.

More Helpful Links!

Your Team! College of Education and Human Development and College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Left to Right: Trisha Hernandez, Emily Murphy, Lorin Flores, Aida Almanza-Ferro.

We are the librarians for College of Education and Human Development, and the College of Nursing. We look forward to working with you! To contact us or to make an appointment:

Submit your request and we'll get right back to you!

Or, you can reach out directly. For our email addresses and phone numbers, see the list below:

Aida Almanza-Ferro | | 361-825-2356
Lorin Flores | | 361-825-2609
Trisha Hernandez | |361-825-2687

Librarians are available M-F, 8-5.