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Nursing Program: Find Search Terms

Library orientation guide specifically for the nursing program. Including information on CINAHL and the APA Style Guide.

Subject Headings


In the Nursing field, most often you will be searching the official Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) subject headings.  You should slowly become familiar with these subject terms when using CINAHL Complete.  Most often more specific medical terminologies will be used. 

For example:

Cancer  USE Neoplasms

Causes [of disease] USE Etiology




While not official subject headings, these keywords can be very fruitful for your research. Try to also think of other terms such as these. Keyword searches look at all the information in the book or article record including title, author, abstract, table of contents, etc. It always helps to think of synonyms, as the way one person would describe something is not the same way another would.

Brain Tumor





What "search terms" to use?

Using the correct words to search will help you find relevant information. Different authors and search tools use different words to describe the same concepts, so it is useful to have a list of similar and related terms in your arsenal when you set out to search for relevant information. The process of creating these alternative terms is called brainstorming terms or concept mapping.


Brain AND Tumors