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PubMed (English): Step 3 - MeSH-terms

Step 2 - Collecting MeSH-terms

After formulating and analysing your research question start searching each PICO-element. Sart looking for matching MeSH terms in the MeSH database for your first PICO-element P, or your first building block if you do not have a PICO.

What is MeSH?

MeSH = Medical Subject Heading
MeSH-terms are standard keywords in the MeSH database. They are assigned to most articles in Pubmed and reveal the article content.

Overview of all MeSH-categories.

Only searching with MeSH?

Only using MeSH terms in your search strategy has some drawbacks.

 You will miss the latest articles in your search result. It takes 4-6 months until MeSH terms are assigned to a new article.      
Sometimes there is no fitting MeSH term for your subject.
MeSH Database is updated yearly as terms are added or removed. Articles already assigned with MeSH terms will not automatically get the new MeSH term. This means you are not going to find these articles when searching with the new MeSH term. This is why you should add free search terms to your search strategy.

More info: tab Step 3 - free search terms


How to search with MeSH?

Found a Mesh-term? 
Click 'Add to Search Builder' to add to the search box..


Adding another  MeSH-term? 
 Find the term through the search bar. 
   (the MeSH-term already in the searchbox stays there)
Use the OR combination option.
 Click 'Add to Search Builder' to add.

MeSH Database

Searching the MeSH Database you will get a list with MeSH-terms containing your search-word within the term or in the description. By clicking the MeSH-term you will get extra information.

1. Description of the MeSH-term. Does it really relate to your subject?
2. Subheadings: extra options to specify a MeSH-term. Not used normally.
3. Entry terms: Synonyms. Useful source for free search terms.
​4. See also: Related terms. Useful source for a 2nd or 3rd MeSH term.
5. Tree structure: The hierarchy between  MeSH-terms. A MeSH-term may belong to
    several categories. Sometimes it is useful to look at a higher term (broader) or lower
    (more specific). . 
6. Explode: PubMed always searches all terms underlying a MeSH-term
    (more specific terms.). You can prevent this by clicking the box. 
7. Search Builder: the MeSH-terms you are going to use. | Disclaimer | Over Zuyd Bibliotheek