PubMed MeSH searching

Do you know how to use MeSH (medical subject headings) within PubMed to create a more focused result list?

1. Connect to

2. There should be a dropdown menu labeled Search: PubMed near the top of the screen.

3. Click the dropdown menu. Instead of PubMed, choose MeSH.

4. In the search box, put in the first medical subject term you are searching for, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Hit enter or click Search.

6. On the next screen you should see a list of possible choices. For example, the first choice is Arthritis, Rheumatoid. Put a checkmark by the result you are interested in.

7. On the right side of the screen, click add to search builder.

8. Now, to help you get a more focused search you should probably add in a second term before you search (usually). For example, in the long search box at the top of the screen, type in drug therapy. Click search (or sometimes it will give you a list of options while you are typing which you can also click).

9. Choose the result that looks like the best fit by putting a checkmark to the left of it.

10. On the right side of the screen, again click add to search builder.

11. When you want to to run the search, click Search PubMed.

The search above will show you all articles which have medical subject headings of Arthritis, Rheumatoid and drug therapy — thus, all articles which deal with drug therapies for this particular condition.


4 thoughts on “PubMed MeSH searching

    • If you are looking for MeSH terms within EBSCOhost…

      a.) MEDLINE or MEDLINE with Full Text use MeSH terms. Simply log into those two databases and look for “Subjects” on the top blue bar.
      b.) CINAHL used MeSH to determine the structure and format for their own subject headings, but it won’t be as exact as MEDLINE in all cases.

      If you are looking for MeSH terms within our catalog…

      a.) under “Useful Links” on the right side of this screen, click “Online Catalog”
      b.) “medical subjects” is the last option on the search screen. Simply type in the MeSH term you are looking for on this last line and click ‘Search’.

      Hope this helps!

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