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Nursing Research Starter Kit: CINAHL Plus with Full Text

CINAHL Overview

CINAHL Overview

CINAHL Plus with Full Text provides access to full text for more than 750 journals and indexes an additional 2,928 journals from the fields of nursing and allied health.


CINAHL Plus with Full Text includes resources from nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and allied health disciplines.


CINAHL Headings 


CINAHL uses a controlled vocabulary called CINAHL Headings. CINAHL Headings are used to index the records in CINAHL. Each item is assigned the most appropriate index terms (i.e. CINAHL Headings). 


Searching with CINAHL Headings is more accurate than searching with keywords. When you search with CINAHL Headings, all the search results are relevant to the topic because they are all indexed with that CINAHL Heading. When you search with keywords the database looks for the keywords in the title, abstract, and search record. As a result your results may include articles that only mention the keyword once. 


CINAHL Headings are very similar to MeSH, the controlled vocabulary used in Medline and PubMed. CINAHL Headings and MeSH are searched the same way.  


CINAHL home page, zoomed in on top bar. CINAHL Headings highlighted in darker blue.

CINAHL Headings are organized in a hierarchy.

Each article, or resources, is indexed to the most specific term in the hierarchy.

Sometimes you may want to search a topic and include every topic that is more specific than that topic. You can do this by using Explode in the CINAHL Headings search.


To Explode a CINAHL Heading:

  • Search CINAHL Headings for the topic,
  • click the Explode box
  • click on Search Database
  • when you run the search it will add a + to the search term, for example: (MH "Neoplasms+")



CINAHL Headings with the search term Neoplasm. If you select the box that says Explode it will give you more options and allow you to search the database with those terms once you press search

As you search in the database, you can select certain options, known as limiters, to make your search results fit with your research needs or the instructions in your assignment. Often, professors provide guidelines on the type of publication or when the article was published.


Common Limiters 


Full Text 

  • All your search results will be Full text. 

Peer Reviewed 

  • Search results will only include articles that are Peer Reviewed. 

Date Range

  • Search results published within a certain date range.


Advanced Limiters


Journal Subset

  • Limit your search results to nursing journals by selecting Core Nursing or Nursing. 
  • Note: Limiting your search with the Nursing limiter in the Journal Subset is more effective than limiting by First Author is Nurse or Any Author is Nurse. Only use the First Author is Nurse or Any Author is Nurse limiters if you are required to find an article by a nurse.


Zoomed in section of CINAHL Advanced Search. Some of the limiter options displayed are First Author is Nurse, Any Author is Nurse as well as Journal Subset



Publication Type

  • Limit your search results to research articles or evidence-based publication types such as Meta Analysis, Randomized Controlled Trial, Systemic Review. 
  • Note: Limiting by Publication Type is more effective than limiting to Evidence-Based Practice. Please do not use the Evidence-Based Practice limiter.


Zoomed in Advanced Search limiters in CINAHL. Under Journal Subset, Nursing is selected and highlighted in gray. Under Publication Type, Systematic Review is selected and highlighted in blue.


Create a free account in EBSCOhost to save item records or searches. 

  • Go into any EBSCOhost database

  • Click on Sign In

  • Click on Create a new Account

  • Fill in the information

    • Do use your VSU email address.
    • You do not have to use your BlazeVIEW username and shouldn't use your BlazeVIEW password, create a new one.
    • Your password must be "strong" (with a green check mark) or the system will not accept it.
  • Once you are logged into an EBSCOhost database, you will see a small yellow icon that reads "My"

Log in to EBSCOhost is represented by a yellow My appearing above the logo in the top left.


Save item records in your folder.

  • When you find a book record, article record, etc. that you want to keep...

  • Click on the blue folder icon to add it to your folder

    • The blue folder icon is available on the search results page and in the item's record

To add results to your MyEBSCO host folder, click on the folder icon next to the result. If the folder icon changes to yellow, it has been added. If it is blue, click on the folder icon to add it to your folder.

Warning! If you add a record to your folder but you are not logged in, it will disappear when you close the browser. Be sure you are logged in!