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Public Health Information Resources: Concept tables

Guide to selected resources in Public Health

Download a blank concept table template

Your goal is to retrieve lots of highly relevant literature, and to avoid retrieving much irrelevant literature. A concept table helps you build out a search strategy with textwords and controlled vocabulary.

A concept table organizes the terms you'll use in a literature search

Concept

A

B

C

Subject headings

SH1

SH2

SH3

SH4

SH5

Textwords

TW1

TW2*

TW3

TW4

TX5

TX6

 

Boolean operators and your concept table

You could combine all the terms from your concept table in a single query -- if you use nesting and operators.

(SH1 or SH2 or TW1 or TW2*) and (SH3 or TW3 or TW4) and (SH4 or SH5 or TW5 or TX6)

You can also create a search line by line. I find this easier to follow and easier to edit.

  1. SH1 or SH2
  2. TW1 or TW2*
  3. SH3
  4. TW3 or TW4
  5. SH4 or SH5
  6. TW5 or TX6
  7. 1 or 2
  8. 3 or 4
  9. 5 or 6
  10. 7 and 8 and 9

  1. SH1 or SH2 or TW1 or TW2*
  2. SH3 or TW3 or TW4
  3. SH4 or SH5 or TW5 or TX6
  4. 1 and 2 and 3

All three of these search strategies will create the same final set.