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NURS 4610: Translating Evidence for Nursing Practice

This LibGuide is designed to assist students in the online RN-to-BSN program with EBP-related competencies in NURS 4610.

Keywords & Subject Headings: Know the Difference

Your assignments for Competency 3 (Module 3 in Blackboard) require you to perform both keyword and subject heading searches in a database of your choice. 

What is the difference between keyword and subject heading searching? 

Keyword searching is a flexible, natural language approach to database searching on a topic. Search results will be retrieved based on the keywords that you enter into the database search boxes.  As you read through your search results, you may begin to recognize additional keywords to use in your search strategy to locate more articles.

Subject heading searching is a targeted, more specific way to search for articles.  Articles in databases are indexed (or categorized) with subject heading terminology which works like a thesaurus.  If there is more than one way of describing a concept or topic (i.e. hypertension or high blood pressure), the subject heading will take all of those varieties into consideration - saving you the time of having to experiment with different keywords. For example, the subject heading for Hypertension will find articles that use the term high blood pressure.