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Bethel University Library

CINAHL Plus with Fulltext: Search Strategy

Easy step-by-step guide to effectively using CINAHL to search for nursing or health related articles, including strategies, finding fulltext, emailing or printing articles, exporting for bibliography and more.

Where should I start?

Start Line

The Advanced Search page is a great place to start because:

  • It can do more than one type of search at a time
  • It has several limiting features which help make searches more effective

What are the best search strategies to use?

Can I Use quotation marks to search multiple words as a phrase?

Quotation marks aren't needed; this database automatically searches multiple terms as a phrase.

Using the following techniques will greatly facilitate your searching:


  • Start with a simple search on the core aspect of your topic.  If this search successfully finds hundreds or thousands of articles, add additional search words or use limiters to narrow down.  Continue to do this until you have a set of articles on your topic that you can browse through.  Remember you can always adjust the fine points of your search once you've established your successful core search.

    Example of a simple, core search:  deep vein thrombosis
  •  Broaden the search by using OR
     (Separate search words with OR and enclose in parentheses if all terms are on one line.)

    Example:  deep vein thrombosis OR venous thrombosis 
  •  Narrow the search using AND to combine terms

      thrombosis and surgical patients
    (This search will find articles that contain both terms) 

Screenshot of Cinahl search using OR


Search CINAHL now using these tips!