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Nursing Research Guide: Mining your CINAHL Search Results

Mining CINAHL Results for New Search Words/Phrases and Trends

The goal of this tutorial is for you to learn how to create a list of search words & phrases, and subjects that you can use to retrieve different, but relevant search results while searching CINAHL.

Searching is a strategic process that typically requires experimentation with different search words.

Note: the search results below were retrieved in March 2017. You search results may vary but the same methods will apply

CINAHL Search example, limited to scholarly articles:

  • medication errors and prevention and nurs* and long term care

As you review the results of your search, take note of promising search words/phrases and Subjects. Copy and paste the most useful combinations into a document where you can track your searching and results. The Subjects will be included at the bottom of each result.

Result 1: Identifying Medication-Related Adverse Drug Events in Nursing Facilities in East Texas.

  • Title phrase: medication-related adverse drug events
  • Abstract phrases:
    • adverse drug events (ADEs)
    • strategies to prevent ADEs
  • Subjects the librarians like:​
    • Adverse Drug Event Epidemiology 
    • Medication Errors Prevention and Control

Result 2: Common issues in the medication use processes in nursing homes: a review of medication use quality improvement strategies.

  • Title phrase: medication use processes
  • Subjects the librarians like:
    • Long Term Care -- (This confirms that LTC it is an appropriate phrase to use.)
    • Medication Errors Prevention and Control
    • Gerontologic Care


Result 3: Roadmap to Quality: Effective Medication Reconciliation Minimizes Errors in a Long-Term Care Setting.

  • Title phrase: medication reconciliation
  • Subjects the Librarian likes:
    • Hand Off (patient safety)
    • Medication Errors Prevention and Control
    • Long Term Care


The next most relevant articles are results 5 and 7.

Result 5: Exploratory Evaluation of Medication Classes Most Commonly Involved in Nursing Home Errors.

  • Abstract phrases:
    • Medication errors
    • Drug class
    • Nursing home
  • Subjects:
    • Long Term Care
    • Medication Errors Epidemiology

Result 7: Bridging the Gap in Transitional Care: A Closer Look at Medication Reconciliation.

  • Title phrases:
    • Transitional care
    • Medication Reconciliation
  • Abstract phrases:
    • Hospital readmissions
    • Care coordination
    • MBAR form
  • Subjects:
    • Medication Reconciliation in Old Age
    • Documentation
    • Hand Off (Patient Safety)


As you "mine" CINAHL results for new search words, you can generate potential new combinations of search words that you can search with to see if you get different, but relevant results.

Please note: It is best to use the formatting of subjects exactly as they listed, including capitalization and punctuation.

  1. Medication Errors Prevention and Control and staff training and Nursing Home Patients
  2. Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and Medication Errors and Long Term Care
  3. Medication Reconciliation in Old Age and Hand Off (Patient Safety) and Long Term Care
  4. Medication Errors Prevention and Control and Gerontologic Nursing
  5. Medication Errors Epidemiology and Long Term Care
  6. medication errors and data and Long Term Care

As you conduct new searches, you might start to see repeats in results from your other searches, and that is normal. When you start to recognize authors and titles and studies, you are getting “saturated” in the literature of your topic, which is a good thing.

Questions to consider as you review search results:

  1. What potential search words and subjects are you finding in your topic areas?
  1. What trends are you seeing in the literature from the article titles, journal titles, publication types, abstracts, subjects, and authors?