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Searching Ovid: Nursing Database

Searching with Subject Headings

Subject headings are words or short phrases that are added to the records of most items in the database. Subject headings use a ‘controlled language’, meaning there is only one word or phrase used to describe a specific concept. In theory, this means that every reference discussing rehabilitation, for example, will have a subject heading related to rehabilitation. Searching using subject headings will retrieve references on a topic regardless of the wording used by individual authors.

Using the Explode function with your subject headings may give your search results more relevance.

We recommend searching for each concept of your search one at a time. This allows greater flexibility later on when combining your search lines.

If you can’t find a subject heading to match your search term(s) using the instructions below, try again using some synonyms.
If that does not work, search by keyword instead.

  1. In Advanced Search, leave the Map Term to Subject Heading box ticked (it will be ticked by default).
    Enter your search term and click the Search button.
    Ovid Nursing Database - Find a subject heading
  2. This will take you to a display of suggested subject headings that match your search term. Find the heading that best matches the concept, and click on it to reveal broader and narrower subject headings. This may help you to find similar headings, and will help you to decide whether or not to explode.

    You can click the Scope icon to find out the definition of a heading.

    If there is more than one suitable heading, you can select them all at once, but we recommend taking one heading at a time and repeating the process to add extra subject headings.

    Ovid Nursing Database - Subject heading list

For your chosen heading(s), you have the option to Explode them. Ticking the Explode box will include your selected subject heading and all of the Narrower Terms below it. This will increase the number of results.

  1. Tick the relevant boxes as appropriate:
    Ovid Nursing Database - Subject Explode and Focus
  2. Once you have made your selections, scroll back to the top of the page and click the Continue button:
    Ovid Nursing Database - Continue button
  3. You will then return to the search screen. Your search line will be listed in the Search History:
    Ovid Nursing Database - Search History
    If your search reaches 5 lines or more, you can click Expand on the right to see the entire search history:
    Ovid Nursing Database - Search History expand button