Tips for Starting a Health Literature Search

Thorough searching on many topics in healthcare requires using both the Current Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature [CINAHL] as well as PubMed/Medline. Some searches are best started in CINAHL and then expanded into Medline/PubMed and others vice versa.


CINAHL is best when searching for:

  • Procedures of care
  • Publications in the fields of respiratory care, emergency medical terminology and laboratory management
  • New phrases which may be found only in the article body (“quadruple aim” for example)

Additionally, subject headings used to tag articles in CINAHL are often more specific for processes such as Diabetes Education, Gait Analysis, Back Exercises, or Insertion Site Selection.


PubMed/Medline is best when searching for:

  • Drug trials
  • Specifics of disease diagnosis and treatment

CINAHL search tips:

  • Expand relevant references in your query by selecting “Also search within the full text of the article” in the Advanced Search option.
  • Expand your search to additional EBSCO databases, including Medline, by selecting the “Choose Databases” link at the top of the search page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s