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CINAHL (Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health): CINAHL Headings

A guide to searching medical literature using CINAHL.

Using CINAHL Headings

CINAHL Headings can help you find more relevant results.  It's also a useful tool to find the most appropriate term for a search concept as well as construct a search from those preferred terms and subheadings.  You can find CINAHL Headings in the blue banner at the top of the CINAHL Database.

Enter your search term and click the Browse button.

CINAHL will return a list of choices ranked by relevancy. 

Choose the heading you consider closest to your term and check the box.  A list of subheadings will appear.  Although the default is to search all subheadings, you can choose to search only certain subheadings by placing a check in the box next to the appropriate term.  The term will be "exploded" automatically which means all narrower terms in the CINAHL heading hierarchy will be searched.  Select Major Concept if you want only articles where the term is the major focus of the article.

Click Search Database.