How to do a MeSH subject heading search for literature in an Ovid database such as Medline


From the Ovid search screen type in the search
terms for the first concept in your question. Each search is searching for articles in the
database which contain the term you’ve entered. In this example we’re using the question ‘Can
cognitive behavioural therapy help to improve self esteem in patients with eating disorders?’
Our first concept is CBT. Enter the terms one by one, clicking search after each one.
Remember to use techniques such as truncation and wildcards to improve your search.
Click on the red expand button on the top right hand side to view all of the search
terms you’ve entered. Now enter all of the terms for the next concept
in your search. In this case eating disorders.
Complete the process by entering all the terms for your third concept. In this case self
esteem. We’re now going to search the database for
MeSH subject headings which are headings used to tag articles related to specific areas.
We want to search for subject headings related to each of the concepts in the question. To
do this, type your concept into the search box and tick the box which says ‘Map term
to subject heading’ before clicking search. We’ll try this first with CBT. This will search
for any subject headings the database uses which are related to your term. Select the
ones which are relevant, in this case, cognitive therapy, by clicking the box on the left hand
side. Then click continue, and continue again, and this will add your MeSH subject heading
search on to the bottom of your search. Complete this process by searching for subject
headings related to all of your three main concepts.
Sometimes the database won’t match your terms exactly, but in this case there is one for
Eating Disorders. Click on continue, and continue again, and it’s added to the bottom of your
search. The closest MeSH subject heading for self
esteem is self concept. This is appropriate to use in our search, so we’re going to click
continue and add it to the bottom of our search. When you’re happy that you’ve entered all
of your terms and the subject headings relevant to your search, you need to combine your terms
appropriately. First combine all of the keywords and subject
headings for your first concept. In this case CBT. Do this by clicking the boxes on the
left hand side next to the key terms, include any MeSH subject headings related to that
concept, and click on OR. Repeat the process for the second concept
which is eating disorders. Click on OR, and repeat this again for the final one which
is self esteem. Include your MeSH subject heading search and click on OR.
The final stage is to group all your concept searches with AND. To do this, tick the boxes
on the left hand side, and select AND. The number of results are displayed. In this
case 100, and you can view those results by scrolling down, the abstracts appear below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *