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Health Sciences 501

Using natural language vs. controlled vocabulary

Use the chart below to visualize the difference in search results when searching PubMed using variations on natural language searching and controlled vocabulary searching. 

Note: MeSH is the controlled vocabulary specific to PubMed. Each database has its own controlled vocabulary for you to use.

image shows variation in search results based on combinations of natural language keywords and MeSH terms

Use the beginning of this video to get a better understanding of how to use natural language keywords and subject headings (MeSH) in your search.

Minute 7:28: MeSH
Minute 10:40: developing keywords
Minute 12:17: using AND, OR, NOT to expand or narrow your search
Minute 17:06: get into searching

The rest of this video is also excellent for getting a good idea of how to use PubMed.

It is important to access PubMed from the library's link to connect you to the full text of articles that Cline Library has paid for.