In CINAHL it is very important to uncheck the "Suggest Search Terms" search box. If you don't, CINAHL will show suggested search terms rather than articles. But once you do that all you need to do is enter your search terms and click "Search."
In the search results screen you can make CINAHL display only certain kinds of results using the left-hand portion of the screen. (Do not check the "Full Text" button, as it will exclude many useful results that you can easily read -- see below). For example, you can make CINAHL show only scholarly articles from the last few years:
To learn more about an article click its title. This will display information about its authors, where and when it was published, as well as an abstract (or summary) of the article. To read an article click "PDF Full Text" or "Check Library For Full Text:"
Most databases include an option in the search results page along the lines of "Limit to Full Text":
It may seem like a good idea to turn this on. Don't. It is bad.
A database doesn't really exist to show you full articles. It exists to show you article citations, i.e., details of articles. Most databases have the full text for only some of these articles. If you click "Limit to Full Text" you might miss the best search results.
For articles whose full text is not available with a "PDF full text" link, just click the "Check Library for Full Text" button. In most cases this brings you to a database that does have the full text of the article.
Sometimes, you will get a message saying that the item is not available online through the library:
But that's okay! Just make a note of the article title, its author, the journal it appeared in, the date, and the pages -- basically, what you see right there on the screen. Then go to the Mat-Su College Library website and click the "Interlibrary Loan" link:
At the Interlibrary Loan page, just fill out the form for requesting a journal article. We'll find a library with a print copy, we'll have them scan it and email it to us, we'll print it out for you, and then we'll let you know it's ready. This is a free and fast service. It gives you access to just about any journal article you could ever want.