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NURS 4610: Translating Evidence for Nursing Practice: Keywords and Subject Headings

Keywords & Subject Headings: Know the Difference

Your assignment for Competency 6 requires you to perform both keyword and subject heading searches in CINAHL and a second subject-specific database of your choice. 

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 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. 

Performing Subject Heading Searches in EBSCOhost Databases

CINAHL and MEDLINE Databases

Database STEP 1 - To begin a subject heading search, click the corresponding link at the top of each database search screen: 
CINAHL CINAHL Subject Headings 
MEDLINE MeSH 2022 (note - MeSH is an acronym for Medical Subject Headings)

 

STEP 2 - Proceed with your search by following the instructions in the Using CINAHL/MeSH Headings video tutorial

Additional Relevant EBSCOhost Databases

Database STEP 1 - To begin a subject heading search, click the corresponding link at the top of each database search screen: 
Alt Health Watch Subjects
APA PsycINFO APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms 
Education Research Complete Thesaurus
ERIC  Thesaurus
Health Source: Nursing/Academic Subjects
LGBTQ+ Source Thesaurus
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection Subjects 
SocINDEX Subject Terms
Sociological Collection Subjects
SPORTDiscus Thesaurus
  STEP 2 - Proceed with your search by following the instructions in the Browsing Subject Terms in EBSCOhost Databases video tutorial