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EBSCOhost databases

Guide to using EBSCOhost databases

Advanced Search: thesaurus searching in CINAHL Plus

Using CINAHL Subject Headings is very similar to using the thesaurus in other databases, but there are a few additional features.

To find a subject heading, you can type your search term directly into the search box and select the Suggest Subject Terms checkbox immediately above the search box and use the Search button to run the search. 

Screenshot of the CINAHL thesaurus structure.​​​​​​

You can then use the checkboxes to:

  • Select a subject heading.
  • Explode a subject heading.  If you select a thesaurus term that has narrower terms, you can also select the Explode checkbox to the right of it. This will automatically include all the narrower terms in your search. 
  • Select Major Concept to focus your search and retrieve only articles where your selected subject heading is the main focus of the artlcle.

You can also click Scope Note (in the 'Scope' column) for a definition of the subject heading.

Subheadings: Once you select a subject heading, you are given the option to select subheadings from a blue menu to the right of the list of subject headings. Selecting a subheading will restrict your results to those that focus on a specific aspect of your topic. For example, you might select the subject heading 'Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1' and then select the subheading 'Diagnosis/DI' to find articles that focus on the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Once you have made your selections, select Search Database to the right of the screen.

The search will appear as a line in the Search History / Alerts section beneath the search boxes on the Advanced Search screen.