Compare and Contrast Pubmed and CINAHL Medical Databases


Normally, most scientific research is exclusively based reviewed information stored in various scientific databases. These databases contain different literature materials that include journals, books, articles and reviews. These databases then serve as a source of knowledge and information in different fields since they preserve an extensive range of publications from previous years. Medical field has a number of databases that are created specifically for certain medical information. This paper focuses on comparing and contrasting two medical databases that include CINAHL and PubMed.

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PubMed is a large database that contains biomedical materials that were published from 1947 to date. The database indexes more than 5600 journals from more than 80 nations where journals are written in 37 different languages. Among them 766 are nursing science subsets. The database materials have received more than 22 million citations since its establishment. On the other hand, CINAHL is slightly smaller as compared to PubMed. It covers health science literature publications that include health administration, behavioral science, education, paramedical science, and nursing science. It has a total of 5400 published journals published from 1982. This includes 1300 journals which contain full text. The database has witnessed a total of 3.7 citations since 1937. The materials in this database are written in 18 languages (MUHC, 2013).

Search Options

To get a journal from any of the two databases, one requires visiting the database. Once in the database, then in PubMed database, the user should search by utilizing a single citation matcher obtained in the main page. PubMed normally attempts to automatically match the search term to the suitable MeSH term. To ensure that the right MeSH term is used, the researcher will require searching for search details and look for the used terms. If the right mesh is not used, the research will have to select the best MeSH from the MeSH database and integrate it in the search.    In CINAHL, the Citation Matcher is used under more selection menu at the upper part of the screen. CINAHL heading use connects to search and identify with official heading of the subject. Moreover, typing the name of journal in the Google also displays the journal abstract into the database though it does not give direct access to the article one may have to login or purchase the paper.

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Quality and Appearance of Interface

CINAML seems to have a simple interface that is easy to interact with. The database website has a top menu that gives a number of heading to interact with. This is followed by a logo and then another horizontal menu. It also clearly indicates that one can access the database through EBSCO. Apart from the upper menu that looks misplaced, the site content is compacted together. On contrary to the CINAHL site, PubMed does not have an obvious menu. The website is extensive to feel the entire page. Access to various parts of the database can be done through provided links in the menu. The site also has extensive links at the bottom where all other connections can be established. Despite of the huge difference the PubMed appears to be easier to understand and navigate.

Ease of Use

PubMed seems easier to use as compared to the CINAHL. This is because, PubMed allows one to search for a journal article and confirm that it is there before signing in. On the contrary, the search engine of CINAHL site is not clear on where it is located. However after locating this, it may be easier to get a material from CINAHL site especially when one has a title. To get a database search engine one must first select what information one is interested in. This makes it more complicated as compared to PubMed where one just needs to know the topic or the category of the needed information.   It is also easier to locate MeSH in PubMed or any other tool and thus PubMed can be considered easier to use than CINAHL (PubMed, 2015).

Ability and Options Sort and Rank Results

PubMed gives the researcher an opportunity to remain the search through advanced search option where one is provided with extra fields to refine the search. One is provided with a number of dropdowns where one can chose on the criteria of displaying the search. However, Unlike CINAHL where the researcher is allowed to categorize the results based on the alphabets, PubMed does not offer that option. It displays all records from the most recent to the oldest (CINAHL, 2015).

Ease of Refining Queries

CINAHL extends it alphabetical criteria to refine search. Once one is in the section under the selected alphabet, one has to find a database or the journal by reading through the list. Thus CINAHL can be classified as the poorest in refining queries. The best way is by typich the possible topic and waits for the outcome.  On the contrary, PubMed has a very well developed refine criteria where the researcher can use date of publication, authors’ name, journal title, among other aspects provided in a big drop down selection menu. This makes it easier to refine a search in PubMed as compared to the CINAHL (CINAHL, 2015).

Quality of Help Documentation

It is easier to access help in PubMed as compared to CINAHL. Help is located in the upper part of the right hand side of the website in all kinds of search and thus, in case of the problem. On the contrary, it is hard to identify where one should obtain help to be able to be successful. Actually the site does not have a help to aid users into locating something that is hard to locate. PubMed contains a well documented help that can give an assurance to a novice user or an experienced user who find difficulties in the site (PubMed, 2015).

Special or Unique Features of Database

Although PubMed and CINAHL database are both heath science databases, they are extensively difference. One of their unique features include the fact that PubMed only has journal articles while CINAHL has a variety of materials that include journal articles, conference papers , book chapters, audiovisual material and dissertations among others. In this regard, CINAHL can be considered much smaller if it would be evaluated based on the total number of journal publications. Another unique feature is that PubMed database is comprised of journal from one medical field which is biomedical. However, CINAHL covers a number of fields as stated above. Another unique feature is that PubMed is part of Medline and thus they work hand in hand as one body even in search and provision of available materials (MUHC, 2013).

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