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Finding Research and Review Articles

Finding Specific Types of Research: Keywords


Keywords are words or phrases that you use to describe your research topic - both the content (eg diabetes) and the research methodology (eg quantitative). You can use as many or as few keywords as you like, and you don't have to include a method, although it may help narrow down your search resullts. 

CINAHL search showing use of keyword for content

CINAHL search box showing use of keyword for research methodology


Finding Specific Types of Research: Subject Terms

Subject Terms:

While keywords are search terms that you develop, subject terms are search terms that have already been developed - each article is already tagged with subjects terms that describe it. You can copy these terms into your search to use them as keywords, or you can go to CINAHL Headings and do a structured subject term search.

Please note: If you're stuck, or just curious, consider contacting your librarian! 

CINAHL Headings search box


Use the E-Resource's Tools

Database Tools:

Databases are here to help, and their tools are designed to do a lot of the work: narrowing down your results list to the most relevant articles.  Save yourself time by using limiting options like these:

Limit results to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals


Limit results to Research Articles


Limit results to articles published between 2005 and 2011

Limit results to articles with an author who is a nurse

You can go to Show More underneath the Publication Date slider in order to see all the options. Choices like Language or Journal Subset can limit the results to nursing journals, which can save you some time as you start to go through your search results.

Searching Tips

Connecting concepts...

  • Join similar ideas or alternate term with "OR."
  • Link different parts of your topic with "AND."
  • Exclude concepts with "NOT."

Keywords are...

  • A good way to start a search.
  • The important concepts in your own words.
  • Found anywhere in the article (title, author, subject terms, etc.).
  • Very flexible.

Subject terms...

  • Every article or book is tagged with them.
  • They are specific, technical terms that describe what the article is about.
  • A good way to find everything on a topic.


  • Use a * at the end of a base word to find all variant endings
  • E.g. nurs* would include nurse, nurses, nursing, etc.

 Quotation Marks...

  • Use quotation marks around a phrase when you want to make sure the words to be next to each other in each of your results.
  • E.g. "health sciences"


Still not finding anything?  Ask a Librarian!

Citation Searching

Did you know?

Bibliographic record from Google Scholar showing citation information with links to citing and cited articles

Resources like Scopus and Google Scholar will show you cited and citing references for any article you find in them. 

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