Skip to Main Content

Using Databases at Oakton

Learn how to get the most out of commonly searched Oakton Library databases.

Get help from Oakton's Librarians!

Email us

Call us:
1-847-635-1644 (DP)
1-847-635-1474 (Sk)

Text us:

Social Media
Link to OCC Library Facebook Link to OCC Library Instagram


CINAHL is a full-text database of publications in Nursing and other allied health fields. It also contains Evidence-Based Care Sheets and Quick Lessons on a variety of health topics. Some general tips: 

  • Search for exact phrases with quotation marks (“”).
  • Use just one or two-word phrases as your keywords. The database will not look for common ‘stop words’ like: been, however, so, or, in, the, and, etc.
  • Truncate your terms with an asterisk (*) to find more results. For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.
  • When a singular word is searched, the plural and possessive forms of that word will also be searched as long as you do not put your search term in quotation marks (“”).
  • Find “Quick Lessons” sheets under “More” (along top of page) for short summaries of many diseases and conditions.

Access more detailed directions and videos below.

Click the link below to begin searching CINAHL. (You will need to log in with your myOakton username and password if you are off campus.)


To search CINAHL:

  • CINAHL uses its own list of specific subject headings. To make your searches more targeted, click on “CINAHL Headings” at the top of the screen and find your particular topics in these subject headings.
  • Enter your keywords in the search boxes. Try to include only one word or simple phrase in each box.
  • Narrow your search by choosing to search by author, subject terms, or other options in the drop-down menu next to each search term box. If you do not pick an option, you are performing a keyword search. In other words, the database will look for your terms in any part of the article record.

cinahl search screen

  • You can choose to narrow your search parameters further using the options under "Limit your results.” Some examples:
    • Full Text: Click this box to find only articles that appear in their entirety in this database.
    • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals: Click this box to find only articles from experts written in peer-reviewed journals.
    • Published Date: Limit by year of publication by entering a starting and ending year in the first and second "Year" boxes.

cinahl search limiting options

Results List

Once you have a list of results from your search:

  • Results appear in Date Newest order (most recent first) under the search term boxes. Click on the “Date Newest” drop-down menu to select other options for sorting.
  • To see more information about an article listed in your search results, click on the title.

CINAHL results list

  • If you did not initially select options such as “Full Text” or “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals” when searching, you can add those search parameters now using the options on the left-hand side of the screen, under “Refine Results.” 
  • The left-hand navigation also allows you to further limit your results by selecting preferred subject headings prevalent in the results. To access this feature, click "Subject: Thesaurus Term” to see the subjects, and then select the subjects relevant to your search.

Article Record

Once you click on an article title, the following options and information appear:

  • HTML Full Text: If this option is available on the left side of the screen, it will provide the complete text for the article, though images may not be included. 
  • PDF Full Text: If this option is available on the left side of the screen, it will provide a scanned copy of the original article, images included.
  • Major and Minor Subjects: By clicking one of the words or phrases, you can find more articles about the topic.
  • Abstract: Next to the term "Abstract" you can read a short summary of the article.

CINAHL article record

  • Print or Email: Print or email the article to yourself by clicking "Print" or "E-mail" on the right side of the screen in the Tools section.
  • Cite: Clicking this link on the right-hand side of the screen (under Tools) will provide a formatted citation. Just select the desired style (APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, etc.).

EBSCO print email and cite tools

  • Listening Options: If the HTML Full Text is available, scroll down the item record page to access the audio player right before the text of the article. Clicking on “Listen” will read the full article out loud. The player also includes the option to pause, stop, download an MP3 of the audio, and more. 

cinahl listening options

Evidence-Based Care Sheets

The CINAHL database includes Evidence-Based Care Sheets, which are reports summarizing information about a particular disease, condition, or medical issue. The summaries provide background information on diagnosis, treatment, statistics, as well as detailed references for research on the topic. They are prepared and published by experts at CINAHL.

It is important to note that Evidence-Based Care Sheets are not peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles. Peer-reviewed articles report on original research or scholarship done by the article author(s); Evidence-Based Care Sheets summarize existing research and information. However, Evidence-Based Care Sheets are an excellent, reliable way to get background information, and you can use the references the Sheets provide to help you locate additional peer-reviewed materials.

To search Evidence-Based Care Sheets in CINAHL:

  • While you can also find Evidence-Based Care Sheets by using the limiting options in any CINAHL search, the easiest way to find them is to click on the “Evidence-Based Care Sheets” link along the top menu bar of CINAHL.
  • This takes you to a page where you can enter the name of a condition, disease, or general medical topic. Enter your term(s) and click “Browse.” 

evidence based care sheet search function in CINAHL

  • If there is an Evidence-Based Care Sheet for your topic, the term will be listed. Click the check box next to the term, and then click the Search button.
  • Not all topics have an Evidence-Based Care Sheet. If your topic is not covered, consider contacting the Oakton Library to ask for help finding other sources for background information.

evidence based care sheet browsing and search screen in CINAHL

  • The only results should be the Evidence-Based Care Sheet(s) for your selected topic(s). Click on “PDF Full Text” to open the full report. From there you can print, email, and cite just as you can with any CINAHL article. See the directions above.

evidence based care sheet full text in CINAHL

CINAHL - Tutorials

Length: 3:20
Length: 3:53
Length: 3:32