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Potomac State College

NSG 276 - Evidence-based Practice and Research: CINAHL - An Introduction

What is CINAHL?

CINAHL stands for Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. You can access CINAHL by clicking on the link above.

CINAHL databases are the most widely-used and respected research tools for nurses, students and allied health professionals around the globe.

CINAHL provides an easy-to-use interface with basic and advanced search features and searchable cited references. CINAHL Subject Headings help users effectively search and retrieve information and follow the structure of the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) used by the National Library of Medicine (see the next tab for more information on CINAHL Subject Headings).

You don't need to worry about creating an EBSCO account, but the other components of this video are what matter for you -- searching in CINAHL and using CINAHL Subject Headings.

Why use CINAHL over PubMed or Google Scholar?

I already know about Google Scholar and PubMed. Why would I want to use CINAHL? Why can't I just Google it?

  • Google Scholar only allows for keyword searching -- you will get a lot of irrelevant results and you will not have full-text access to many of the article which come up.
  • Unlike what's in Google and Google Scholar, you know that the resources that are in CINAHL are relevant for your research problems in your nursing classes. 
  • PubMed and CINAHL both use subject headings -- in fact, CINAHL's are based on PubMed's MeSH headings. But while PubMed indexes many more resources related to medicine and life sciences, not all are full-text. CINAHL will give you access to the full-text content and its coverage is specific to nursing and allied health fields, so you are more likely to find articles relevant to your research problems in your nursing classes.

So in short, when searching on CINAHL, you are much more likely to find what you're looking for and you will not have to search through as much.