Refers to the controlled vocabulary (or official language for the organization of resources) of CINAHL.
Limits and filters allow you to narrow the results down to only the ones that are most relevant. Common limits that are applied include: article type, date, and language.
Tip: the more limits and filters you set, the narrower your results will be. It is possible for you to limit your results all the way down to 0, so be careful.
Tip 2: do not limit by Full Text. As a student of ECU, you can receive the full text of articles either with your PirateID and password, or through our free Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if ECU does not own a copy of the article. Electronic resources can be e-mailed to your ECU account.
Personal accounts in databases are free, and I strongly recommend creating an account for each database you may use. They are particularly valuable when you need to save your searches for longer than your current browsing period. Closing your browser almost always erases your search history; having a personal account allows you to save searches that you may want to look at again later.
To create an account in CINAHL, click on Sign In at the top of the page.
Next, click on Create one now.
Fill out the form and follow any additional prompts that may be provided.
Searching the Subject Terms Tree
To fill out the second row of your concept table, you will need to know the controlled vocabulary for each of your concept groups. To search this in CINAHL, search each concept group individually, making sure that Suggest Subject Terms is checked. Then click Search.
This will bring you to the Subject Term Tree. From here, you can select which subject terms you want to include in your search. Select as many or as few as you like.
Anatomy of the Subject Term Tree
A couple of things to notice in the image above:
After clicking Search
When you are pleased with the number of subject terms you have selected for your concept group, click on Search. This will bring you to the results page. CINAHL will already suggest articles based solely on this search; however, you still need to run the keywords that you have chosen in your concept table. Locate each concept group individually. The command language for CINAHL to run the terms as Subject Terms is MH (" "). To incorporate this language into your concept table, highlight and copy and paste the entire string into the second row of your concept table.
Repeat this entire process for all of your concept groups. When you have completed the entire process, you should have a Search History that has 2 - 3 searches.
My concept table looks like this after running the Subject Term search for all three concept groups:
|Subject Terms||(MH "Nurses")||(MH "Health Literacy")||(MH "Rural Areas")
(MH "Rural Health")
(MH "Rural Population")
(MH "Rural Health Personnel")
(MH "Rural Health Centers")
(MH "Rural Health Nursing")
Building the Advanced Search in the Search History
In your Word document, combine your Subject Terms row and your keywords row for each concept group using Boolean operators. My search becomes:
((MH "Nurses") OR Nurse OR Nurses OR "Nursing personnel")
((MH "Health Literacy") OR "Health literacy")
((MH "Rural Areas") OR (MH "Rural Health") OR (MH "Rural Population") OR (MH "Rural Health Personnel") OR (MH "Rural Health Centers") OR (MH "Rural Health Nursing") OR Rural OR "Rural areas" OR "Rural health centers" OR "Rural population" OR "Rural populations" OR "Rural health nursing" OR "Underserved populations")
In order to preserve some flexibility in your search, you will now copy and paste each concept group one at a time into the search bar at the top of the page. Running each search individually will allow you to edit each concept group individually if necessary, or to change how you pair your concept groups.
Note: make sure to uncheck the Suggest Subject Terms box before clicking Search!
After repeating this process for all concept groups, your Search History should look like this:
From the Search History box, put a check in each box beside the full concept groups. Then, click Search with AND. This tells CINAHL to search the concept groups together. When the search has run, you'll notice that CINAHL has created a new row for the combined search, but CINAHL does not report the full search--instead, it uses nicknames. My search is displayed as S4 AND S5 AND S6 rather than using the actual words. Because you may be required to report your search strategy, it is extremely important to keep the prose version of your search in a Word document.
To limit your search, click on Edit. This will pull up a large menu of multiple limits and filters that you can apply to your search. (Note: you can also set limits by clicking the limits on the left-hand sidebar; however, I find that if I need to apply multiple filters, it is often much easier to do so with the Edit feature.)
In CINAHL, there are multiple ways to save articles.
1. Saving articles individually: on the article page, choose either Add to Folder or Export in the right-hand sidebar. Saving to Folder saves the article record to your personal CINAHL account. Exporting to a citation manager creates a file that you can download into either RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote.
2. Saving articles from the results page: on the results page, click the blue folder icon. This will turn it yellow, indicating that the article has been saved to your folder.
If you created a personal CINAHL account, you can save your search. Click on Save Searches/Alerts above the search history from the search results page.
Complete the form to save your search or to create an alert. I recommend saving the search with the date within the title so that you can keep track of when you last ran the search on CINAHL.
Setting an alert will allow CINAHL to run your search as frequently as you want it to, and you will receive e-mail alerts when new articles become available that meet your search criteria.