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Library Resource Guides: CINAHL

Access to CINAHL

CINAHL (short for the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature) is one of the largest and most in-depth nursing research databases. It provides full-text to over 770 nursing and allied health journals, with indexing for several thousand others. ANMF Victorian Branch members can access CINAHL Plus with Full Text through the Member Portal:

  1. Go to
  2. Input your membership number and password
  3. Click 'CINAHL Database' under Helpful Links

If you are experiencing difficulty logging in to the Member Portal, contact the Membership Department on (03) 9275 9313 or

Setting up alerts in CINAHL

Setting up a free EBSCO account allows to to set up search and journal alerts. Alerts are a good way to have articles from a particular publication or on a particular topic of interest to be delivered to you as soon as they are available. Setting up an account also allows you to save search and content preferences, organise your research, retrieve your search history, and share papers with others. If you do not yet have an account, click Sign In from the CINAHL homepage and follow the steps.

Can't locate the full-text?

Image: State of Digital Publishing © 2018.

If you find an article indexed in CINAHL (or elsewhere) but you can't access the full-text (or you've hit a paywall), the Library's interlibrary loan service can assist. The ANMF Victorian Branch Library is part of a network of 100s of health & medical libraries around Australia. This means that if we don't have access to the journal article, book, chapter, report, etc. through our various subscriptions, we can most likely source it for you through our networks. Simply fill in the form below and we will endeavor to fulfill your request within 2 business days (usually sooner). There is no charge for this service.

8 CINAHL searching tips

Highly-ranked journals in CINAHL

SCImago Journal Rank attempts to provide objective rankings of journal titles according to their influence in the scholarly community. SCImago ranks journals based on the impact of papers they publish, accounting for the number of citations received and the ranking of journals where these citations came from. While ranking systems based on citation data rather than judgment are inevitably flawed ( Hicks & Wolters, 2015), SCImago still provides a good overview of the most highly regarded journal titles according to discipline, sub-discipline and country. Provided are links to the highest ranked nursing journals  nationally and internationally.

CINAHL Plus with Full Text offers full-text of these following highly-ranked nursing & midwifery journals:

  • Advances in Nursing Science
  • Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing
  • Australian Journal of Cancer Nursing
  • Breastfeeding Review
  • British Journal of Midwifery
  • British Journal of Nursing
  • Health Expectations
  • Journal of Perioperative Nursing
  • Journal of Wound Care
  • Maternal & Child Health Journal
  • Neonatal, Paediatric & Child Health Nursing
  • Oncology Nursing Forum
  • and many more...

CINAHL video instructions

As the 'gold standard' nursing & allied health research database, CINAHL has very powerful searching capabilities. However, its interface can be overwhelming for those new to the database. These two videos from EBSCO quickly provide an overview of basic & advanced searching to help you get started with your search. Advanced searching is recommended, as it allows more targeted searching.

Formulating a search strategy using a 'logic grid'

Before you search CINAHL (or other databases), it pays off to consider your topic in a systematic way. Generally, this involves refining your research topic or area of interest into one or more specific, answerable question/s. Once this is done, follow these steps:

  1. Identify your key concepts (e.g. Is there any evidence that the drug naltrexone is effective in treating alcoholism in adult, male patients with a diagnosis of general anxiety disorder?)
  2. Work out alternative terms for these concepts (a database thesaurus can help). E.g. For alcoholism, you could also search for "alcoholic", "alcohol-related disorder*", "alcohol addiction", "alcohol abuse", etc.
  3. Map your key concepts to a relevant subject heading. 'CINAHL Headings' are applied by indexers to group together all papers on a particular topic under a single heading, no matter how many ways it is expressed by the journal or authors. E.g. the CINAHL Heading for general anxiety disorder is 'Generalized Anxiety Disorder'. Searching with CINAHL Headings allows you to search for your topic with the appropriate granularity and precision.
  4. Limit your search to a certain population or demographic (e.g. adult males).
  5. Limit your search to a particular type of resource (you may want to follow the 'evidence hierarchy' from top-to-bottom):

    Image: Glover, Izzo, Odato and Wang © 2006. 

It may help to use a 'logic grid' (see a template below) to conceptualise your search. This involves separating out concepts into columns, creating a list of synonyms and related terms, and then using this information to run an advanced search.

*Examples adapted from guides by the University of Adelaide and EBP Librarian.