The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy


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Ebscohost search tips

Use these search tips to improve your retrieval results from Ebscohost databases.

Any problems - please contact the Library:
  • by phone via our Enquiry Handling Team on 020 7306 6666 (ask for the library)
  • or send us an email:
  1. Watch the video tutorials
  2. Use the subject headings for each database in addition to free text. In Cinahl the subject headings are called Cinahl Headings; in Medline they are MeSH; in AMED they are Subjects and in SportDiscus they are Thesaurus. They are all found on the top left navigation bar.
  3. If using subject headings to search Cinahl and Medline offer subheadings to more precisely define a topic e.g. in Medline, Physical Therapies Modalities has a range of subheadings including adverse effects, economics, history, and veterinary and many more
  4. In Cinahl and Medline, subject headings can be limited to Major Headings only. This means that the concept described by the term is important to the reference and you will retrieve only the articles where the subject is significant.
  5. Combining terms
    AND will return items with both/all the terms or subject headings
    OR will return items that have at least one of the terms or subject headings
    NOT will exclude any item that has a particular term or subject heading. Use with caution as by excluding a term you may lose a relevant reference.
  6. Truncation
    eg physiotherap* will find {physiotherapy, physiotherapist, physiotherapists, physiotherapeutic}. It can also be used to replace an entire word in a phrase juvenile * arthritis.
  7. Wildcards
    ? allows variation of a single letter eg wom?n will find women or woman
    # replace several letters or none eg lymph#edema will find lymphoedema or lymphedema
  8. Proximity

    Double inverted commas "Physical therapy" will retrieve a phrase

    Near - N: eg N5 will find the terms within five words of each other. The count does not include word on the stop word list eg are, the, because, that
    eg: Multidisciplinary N5 physiotherapy will find '...physiotherapy as part of a multidisciplinary...' and '...Physiotherapy or multidisciplinary treatment...'

    Within - W: eg W8 will find terms with in eight words of one another and in the order in which they were entered. eg: physiotherapy W8 stroke will find '... physiotherapy in the respiratory mechanic of patients with stroke...' and '... physiotherapy interventions late after stroke...'

  9. Refine the results of your search
    There are a number of ways to refine your search. On the left of the results is a short list of ways to refine your search
    • Journals held in the CSP library
    • Subjects as a major heading
    • Full text (Cinahl Plus with full text)
    • References available
    • By date (use the slider to limit to a specified time period)

    Under 'Show More'

    • English language
    • Age groups
    • Peer reviewed journals
    • Evidence-based practice

    And many more. Alternatively you can set your refinements before you start to search

  10. Full text journals in Cinahl Plus
    If you are looking to see if Cinahl Plus includes full-text of a specific journal, either:
    • on the page where you choose which database you want to search at the bottom of the explanatory paragraph hit 'Title List' which is a list of the journals covered. If you search for a specific title it will tell you if it is available in full text and if there are any limits to access.
    • from within the search, access the journal lists from 'Publications' on the top left navigation bar.


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