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HES 210 Research Guide

This guide will assist students enrolled in HES210 to explore and research health topics

What is Controlled Vocabulary?

Controlled vocabulary is a standardized, pre-defined set of terms used by a database to describe and categorize articles or sources of information based on content. Controlled vocabulary can also be referred to as Subjects, Subject Headings, Subject Terms, Descriptors, Thesaurus, or Index terms. The table on this page outlines the difference between using 'Controlled Vocabulary' and 'Keywords'.

Using a variety of both keywords and controlled vocabulary when searching library databases will help you retrieve the best search results!

Controlled Vocabulary VS. Keywords

Controlled Vocabulary Keywords
Pre-defined, higher order terminology Natural (conversational) language
Only searches the subject or descriptor field in a database record

Searches all fields in a database record including title, abstract, text, etc.

Results usually relevant to your topic Results may or may not be relevant to your topic
Narrows your search providing fewer results

Broadens your search providing more results

Less Flexible - searches only available, pre-defined subject headings Flexible - searches newer or distinctive terms and acronyms with no defined subject heading



Skin Neoplasms





Skin Cancer

High Blood Pressure