Skip Navigation

CINAHL Database Guide

Database Overview

The CINAHL database includes citations and abstracts for journal articles and other materials on nursing, communication sciences and disorders, nutrition, and allied health. CINAHL covers literature from 1981 to present.

Getting Started

Using CINAHL off campus? Activate your MaineCard at the library first. See Remote Access Troubleshooting.

  1. On the Fogler Library page, click the Databases tab.
  2. Select C from Databases A-Z or select Nursing from the pull-down menu.
  3. Click CINAHL with Full Text.
  4. Click Advanced Search (located under the CINAHL search box).

Search Steps

  1. Define your topic--what is the question you want to answer? Example: How are nursing students socialized into the profession?
  2. Identify the individual concepts within your topic (and express them as nouns). Example: nursing students, socialization (expresses the concept of getting socialized).
  3. Search each concept separately.
    • Click the CINAHL Headings button located on the blue bar towards the top of the screen.
    • Type in the first concept: nursing students and click Browse or press the "Enter" key.
    • Look at the CINAHL subject headings and find the best match to the first concept: Students, Nursing.

      Results of a CINAHL Headings search for "nursing students"

      You might need to look at several screens of headings to find the best match. Use Prev and More to move between screens.
    • Check the Explode (+) box to the right of the subject heading. If there is no Explode (+) box, check the box left of the subject heading.
    • Keep the Include All Subheadings box checked, unless you need to select one or more subheadings for a more precise search.
    • Click the green Search Database button to get results for your first concept.
    • Repeat these steps for socialization to create a second group of results.
  4. Combine search results to find citations about your topic.
    • Click Search History (located under the CINAHL search box).
    • Combine the search terms. In this example, check the box in front of Search ID# S1 (MH "Students, Nursing+") and click the Search with AND button to cross this term with (MH "Socialization+").

      Combining 2 CINAHL headings using AND

  5. Limit the results.
    • Click Advanced Search (located under the CINAHL search box) and scroll down to Limit your results.
    • Select the limits you want to apply to the results. Commonly used limits include Published Date (YYYY format), English Language, Peer Reviewed, and Research Article.
    • Another popular limit is USA (select from the Geographic Subset list), for journals published in the United States. Note: this limit does not restrict article topics to the United States.
    • Select additional limits, such as Sex, Age Groups, etc. if appropriate.
    • Click the Search button.

Saving Your Search

  1. Click Search History (located under the CINAHL search box).
  2. Click Save Searches / Alerts.
  3. Never saved a search before? Click Create a new Account. Otherwise, login to your My EBSCOhost account.
  4. Type in a search name (and brief description) and click the Save button.

Running a Saved Search

  1. Click Search History.
  2. Click Retrieve Searches. Login to EBSCOhost.
  3. Click Retrieve Saved Search under the search you want to run.
  4. Click Rerun for the appropriate search statement(s).

Viewing Results and Selecting Citations

  1. Click on the title of a citation to see more detail. Click Result List to return to the list of citations.
  2. Select interesting citations by clicking Add to folder.

Full Text Articles

Off campus? You need to install Adobe Reader software on your computer in order to display full text.

  1. Click Full Text under a citation to see the full text of an article. You might need to click additional links, in subsequent windows, to get to the full text.
  2. Use your browser command(s) to print.
  3. To return to the list of citations, click Result List or Back.

The Article Linker button retrieves full text for many citations lacking a "full text" link.

Printing, E-mailing, Saving, or Exporting Selected Citations

  1. Click Folder on the blue bar towards the top of the screen. Select specific citations or all at once.
  2. Click either Print, E-mail, Save, or Export from the Tools list. Change the options as needed.
  3. Click Print, Send, or Save. The software may not accurately estimate the number of pages that will be printed.
  4. To continue searching, click Back, and then click Back on the next screen.

Finding Journal Articles in the Library


Nancy Curtis, 581-1679
Science & Engineering Center, 581-1691
Reference Desk, 581-1673
Ask A Librarian

Return to the list of database guides
Return to the list of science and engineering guides

Created by: Nancy Curtis | Revised: 05/01/2014
5729 Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5729
Phone: 207.581.1661 | Fax: 207.581.1653
© Copyright 2000-2014  
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469