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CINAHL Guided Exercise: 7. Combine All Concepts

7.  Combine all Concepts

In Steps 2-6, we performed a separate Subject Heading and Keyword search for each PICO element: Population, Intervention, Outcome

Now, we will join our previous searches with the operator AND

Step by Step: Combine all Concepts

Combine all Concepts

Start in your Search History:

  1. Identify the Population(S3), Intervention(S6) and Outcome(S9) combined searches.
  2. Start by combining Population(S3) and Intervention(S6)
    • Select the checkbox next to 
      • S3 (Population)
      • S6 (Intervention)
    • Click Search with AND
  3. You now have a new combined search for Population/Problem and Intervention on line 10, labelled S10.
  4. Finally add the Outcome to your new combined search (combining all PICO concepts)
    • Select the checkbox next to 
      • S10 (Population+ Intervention)
      • S9 (Outcome)
    • Click Search with AND
  5. The combined PICO concept search is shown in the Search History as S11 (S9 AND S10).
Video Demo: Combine all concepts

Combine all Concepts

1. Using steps 1-5 above, combine your searches.


  • Your search may have more lines of search terms for each aspect of your topic
    • Follow this logic:
      • All sets for the first concept are combined with OR
      • All sets for the second concept are combined with OR
      • These 2 resulting sets are combined with AND
      • Combine the sets for the third concept with OR
      • Then combine this result with the previous result with AND
  • The number of results after combining just 2 sets with AND may be small,
    • STOP and review the results
    • Also, consider combining just the P or first concept and the O or third concept with AND.

2. Review the results