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Ovid MEDLINE Search Instructions

Step Two - Picking the Best MeSH Term(s) for Your Concept

After you have entered a search term and clicked the "Perform Search" button (from Step One), the next screen returns a "pick list" of standardized subject headings, or MeSH terms associated with your topic. This screen allows you to select the most appropriate subject heading for your topic. To select a subject heading, click on the box next to the heading. If you see terms in this list that you are unsure about, you can find definitions by clicking on the "i" button for that term (in the "Scope" column).

If you like, you can choose more than one subject heading on this screen; however, you will probably get better results if you choose the single narrowest subject heading that corresponds with the information that you are trying to find. Be aware that if you do choose multiple subject headings the database will not prompt you to choose subheadings (see Step Four).

There may be occasions when you enter a search term that is not recognized by the database and it will be unable to offer appropriate suggestions for MeSH terms. This can occur when you are searching for new medical terms, new drug names, species names, etc. If the subject heading screen does not retrieve any MeSH terms that are relevant to your search, then you need to search using a keyword search strategy.

EXAMPLE -- Selecting a subject heading


Check the box next to "hypertension" because this is the MeSH term that is recognized by the database instead of "high blood pressure." Also, notice that there are boxes that can be checked to explode and/or focus your subject heading. These functions will be discussed in the next step of the tutorial.

next: step 3

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