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CINAHL Tertiary Headings - FAQs

Q. What are CINAHL Tertiary headings?

Tertiary headings are used to indicate an age group or geographics. These headings are added when the age group or geographic area is key to the topic under discussion. The tertiary headings can be linked directly to CINAHL subject headings or to the end of a subject heading/subheading combination.

Some examples include the following:

  1. After Care - Evaluation - Europe where "Europe" is the tertiary heading.

  2. Substance abuse - therapy - In Adolescence where "In Adolescence" is the tertiary heading.

  3. Rehabilitation Nursing - United Kingdom - where "United Kingdom" is the tertiary heading.

  4. Exercise - In Pregnancy - where "In Pregnancy" is the tertiary heading.

See the following linked spreadsheet for a list of these tertiary headings in the CINAHL database products.

CINAHL Tertiary Headings


Q. How can I access tertiary headings on CINAHL products?

There are a couple ways you can access the tertiary headings in CINAHL databases.

  1. When you limit your search to a specific age group, tertiary headings may be found in your result set. For example, “Influenza – In Infancy and Childhood” where “In Infancy and Childhood” is a tertiary heading.

  2. When you search the subject headings fields, you may retrieve results wherein a tertiary heading is applied. For example, “Analgesics – Therapeutic Use – In Pregnancy” where “In Pregnancy” is a tertiary heading.

In either case, you can click on the tertiary heading from the record to find more records which have this same tertiary heading.


Q. When searching the CINAHL products by a subject heading that includes a tertiary heading, how do I construct my search?

In order to search for a subject heading that includes a tertiary heading, you must remove the dash from the heading. For example, the subject heading “Health Beliefs – In Pregnancy” should be written as “Health Benefits In Pregnancy” when constructing your search. The search expression is not case sensitive.

  • To search for records containing the heading as a Major Subject, apply the field code MM before the heading. For example, MM “Health Beliefs In Pregnancy.”

  • To search for records containing the subject heading as a Major or Minor Subject, apply the field code MH. For example, MH “Health Beliefs In Pregnancy.”