Skip to main content
Norwich University Kreitzberg Library

NR104 - Focus on Nursing

Guidance for students in NR104 to complete literature research for your papers using advanced features in CINAHL.

Browsing the Headings

To find headings, select CINAHL Headings from the top menu OR check the Suggest Subject Terms box before running a keyword search.

cinahl headings and suggest search terms with squares around them

The results will be a list of potentially appropriate headings. Sometimes there might be a direct suggestion for your keyword. You can also click on the Scope bubble for a short description. If nothing looks good, try searching for one of the other keywords you brainstormed instead!

cinahl headings results for cost containment with use suggestions and scope in squares

Explode and Major Concept

If a term has the Explode box available, that means there are other terms nested under it. Click on the linked term for a tree view of the heading. Selecting Explode will look for the subject term you chose, plus any narrower terms underneath it.

cinahl heading cost control and explode with squares around them

Checking the Major Concept box will require the subject term is part of the main point of any articles returned. This is very helpful if you are getting a lot of results that are not relevant.

cinahl heading cost control major concept in square


When you select a term using the checkbox on the left side of the results, a list of applicable subheadings will open. Subheadings are an excellent way to really refine your search results. Once you check a term it is added to the box on the right and will update as you make adjustments.

subheadings for cost control with square around

Using More Than One Heading

There are a couple reasons you may want to add additional terms to the same search. 

If there are two or more different terms that would work for your topic, check both. Make sure the Combine selections with: radio button is set to OR. This will look for either one, the other or both. 

cinahl headings two selected combine selections with OR

If you need articles that combine different topics or narrow your broader topic, click Browse Additional Terms at the bottom of the screen, find your other term(s) and add those to your search. In this case, make sure the Combine selections with: radio button is set to AND. This will require both be present.

cinahl headings browse additional terms

cinahl headings combined with AND

To combine heading searches with both OR and AND, you will need to run each headings search separately and then use the combine search function in Search History (more later in the guide). 


Search Database

When you are done exploring the headings and ready to try the search, hit the big green Search Database button.