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Online Resources: CINAHL

Learn about the library's online resources: what types of sources they contain, search strategies, and unique features.


CINAHL with Full Text

CINAHL® with Full Text is the world's most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 610 journals indexed in CINAHL®. This authoritative file contains full text for many of the most used journals in the CINAHL index - with no embargo. Full-text coverage dates back to 1981.  CINAHL is one of the multiple databases included in EBSCOhost.

Accessing CINAHL

Do I have to log in?

If you are using a campus computer or campus WiFi, you should be able to directly access the resource. If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in using your Single Sign-On username and password. Contact the library if you have any problems accessing the resource.

Searching in CINAHL

  • Since CINAHL is one of the EBSCOhost databases, the search interface looks similar to searching in all or part of EBSCOhost.  However, CINAHL has many additional search features as described below.
  • In the green area below the search input fields labeled “Search Options”, you can narrow your search to only return results available in Full Text, from Peer Reviewed (Scholarly) Journals, and involving Evidence-Based Practice, among other limiters (see "Special Features" box below).
  • Placing your keywords on different lines and using the drop-down boxes allows you to connect your search with AND, OR, and NOT
  • If you type more than one word into the same box, the search automatically places AND between the words (for example, if you type the search string -health care field- your search string is interpreted as health AND care AND field), so…
    • Use quotation marks (“ ”) to search for an exact phrase ("health care field")
    • Use a question mark (?) as a wildcard (ex. 'm?th' will search for 'moth', 'math' or 'myth')
    • Use an asterisk (*) to look for multiple endings (ex. 'penn*' will search for 'penny' or 'Pennsylvania')
  • When you are viewing the results, you can click “Add to Folder” to keep track of your research (the folder remains active for the current session only--when you leave CINAHL/EBSCO, your folder and its contents disappear)

CINAHL: Special Features

Evidence-Based Practice Limiter:

The Evidence-based practice journal subset is applied to articles from evidence based practice journals (including Cochrane), as well as articles about evidence based practice, research articles (including systematic reviews, clinical trials, meta analyses, qualitative studies), commentaries on research studies (applying practice to research), case studies if they meet the criteria of the use of research and/or evidence based practice terms.

Clinical Queries Limiter:

You can refine your search using specific search strategies designed to narrow your results in five research areas: Therapy, Prognosis, Review, Qualitative, and Causation (Etiology). Three strategies are provided for each area. High Sensitivity - the broadest search to include ALL relevant material. It may include less relevant materials. High Specificity - the most targeted search to include only the most relevant result set, may miss some relevant materials. Best Balance - retrieves the best balance between Sensitivity and Specificity.

Clinical Queries are created in collaboration with the Health Information Research Unit (HIRU) at McMaster University, and are designed for clinician use.

Special Interest Limiter:

This limiter allows you to specify types of practice or special areas of interest, including case management, military/uniformed services, nutrition, and occupational therapy.

The Results List

  • The results are automatically sorted by "relevance" based on your search terms and how frequently they appear in each result – you can change this by selecting an option just above your search results list.
  • The “Full Text” links appear when the article is available in full text. Clicking on this link will take you to the complete document.
  • You can narrow your search to include only full-text and/or scholarly/peer-reviewed articles and/or a range of dates in the "Refine your results" box to the left of the results.
  • If you have too many results, you can add another subject term to your search by clicking one of the subjects at the left of the results.
  • Clicking on the title of the results will take you to the citation and abstract view.

Although this video is about EBSCOhost in general, the Results List is very similar is all EBSCO databases, so the video will help you use the Results List in CINAHL.

To get a link to the article you are looking at, click the permalink tool on the right side of the screen, then copy and paste the url from the box that appears. Ebsco permalink

Chat with a Librarian

Contact the Library

The Library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,  & Friday from 10AM - 5PM and Wednesday from 1PM - 8PM.

If you need help from the librarian or need to access the library resources outside of those hours let us know!

Call or text 717-728-2500 or email to make an appointment.

Remember the Learning Hub is also open with lots of great faculty and staff willing to help with tutoring, advising, and general questions.

Library Director