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Searching CINAHL

Refining and Sorting Search Results

The results of your search strategy will be listed below the search history. Before you go through the results, it may be beneficial to refine your results, or change the way the results are displayed. This will help to narrow down the results and save you time.


Options for refining your search appear on the left side of your results. Select, for example, publication date range, source type, or language.

CINAHL refine results

Further options for refining your results

More comprehensive limits are available by clicking on the Show More links.

Problematic limits include:

  • Linked full text - This only shows references that CINAHL provides full text access to. You will miss references that are available in full text through the library.
  • Evidence-Based Practice - This limit looks promising, but does not always work well. The Clinical Queries options are more effective.

Example search topic: Palliative care of terminally ill patients with melanoma.


For our search example, we could limit to ‘Academic Journals’, and publication dates from 2015 onwards.
This reduces the results from 248 to 130.

Please note, some limits are displayed as an extra search line in your search history, while others, such as the ‘Academic Journals’ limit, are not reflected in the search history


At the top of your search results, immediately below the search history, you have options to sort your results or change the display.


Click on the Date Newest selection list to change the order of the results. For example, in a large set of results you can sort by Relevance to see those that best match your terms.

Date Newest
Page Options

Click on the Page Options selection list to change the way the results are displayed. For example, you can select Detailed to see the article abstracts, and you can increase the number of results per page.

As you read through the results, you also have the option to see the article abstracts by hovering your mouse over the magnifying glass symbol beside the articles.

  • NB: Not all articles will have abstracts.