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HS 205: Foundations of Public Health

Use this guide to access resources for introductory research. Contact a librarian for advanced research assistance.

Searching Academic Search Complete

Searching CINAHL Complete

Search both databases at once!

Start your search using either of the databases listed above.  Academic Search Complete and CINAHL Complete are accessible from the same platform, so you can search these two databases simultaneously.  

  1. To search both databases at once, click on one of the database links above to access the search page. 
  2. On the search page, click on the words Choose Databases, which is located above the search boxes.  
  3. A pop-up window will appear with a list of databases arranged alphabetically. 
  4. Click on the other database to add it to your search and then click OK in the lower right hand corner of the pop-up window.  
  5. You will then return to the search screen where you can type in your keywords.   

Search Strategy Example

Searching Academic Search Complete and CINAHL Complete

Academic Search Complete and CINAHL Complete are databases provided by EBSCOhost through Cline Library.

Step One:  Identify the topic and consider two to three concepts that directly relate to the topic.  Use the chart below as a guide.


 Prevalence of cardiovascular disease among rural communities


cardiovascular disease

prevalence rural communities

Consider alternative keywords for the concepts

Cardiovascular disease


Rural Communities


heart attack

myocardial infarction

rural area


cardiac arrest

heart failure





Step Two:  Develop a search strategy using the keywords and/or phrases.  Less is more; start with a few keywords and if necessary build a more comprehensive search.  See search tips below. 


Step Three: Recognize that databases have similar features, such as “limiters” or ways to narrow the search results (e.g., date of publication, peer-reviewed journal, and full-text).   Apply limiters if necessary.

If you are being asked to include scholarly articles, consider limiting your results to scholarly, peer-reviewed. 


Step Four: View the results.  If the search strategy did not return any results try changing the keywords. 

Search tips for Academic Search Complete and CINAHL Complete (EBSCOhost)



Quotation marks

Exact phrase searching


Combine terms


Omit or ignore a term


Expand the search to include either or both terms


Structure a Boolean (AND, OR, NOT) search


Truncate a term or complete a phrase


Wildcard used to replace a single letter


Wildcard used for alternate spellings

N and a number

Finds terms near x terms

W and a number

Finds terms within x terms in order

Try not to use punctuation

Databases ignore these unless it is a question mark

Try not to use stop words

Databases ignore these