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Research Methods in Nursing

PICO for Searchable Questions

What is the Pico Process?

Informative downloadable flyer (PDF) from CINAHL.

Hyperlinked image of the title of the downloadable flyer

Evidence Based Nursing Practice: Seven Steps to the Perfect PICO Search

To explore a step-by-step guide to formulating an optimal PICO search, download this free white paper.

Hyperlinked image from the downloadable document

Tutorials for PICO searching in Nursing Databases

CINAHL & MEDLINE Databases - Advanced Searching Tutorial

Both CINAHL and MEDLINE use the same search technique for PICO searching.

This quick tutorial (using CINAHL) shows you how use the "Search History" tool to combine the different elements of your PICO search.

MeSH: Medical Subject Headings

What is MeSH?

MeSH is an acronym for Medical Subject Headings that provides a controlled vocabulary which helps researchers in the search process. Information is organized in a hierarchical manner called the MeSH Tree Structures which contain headings and subheadings or qualifiers.

Learn about MeSH in this tutorial created by the National Library of Medicine.

MeSH Tree Structures

MeSH headings are organized in a tree structure with 16 main branches. Each of these branches has many sub-branches.

Learn more about MeSH Tree Structures in this tutorial created by the National Library of Medicine.


The image below shows an example of a MeSH Tree Structure with a branch shown as the Broader Term and its many sub-branches including a potential Search Term and a Narrower Term.

       Visual example of a MeSH tree showing broader and narrower terms

Tutorials for MeSH Searching in Nursing Databases

Ask a Librarian

Need research assistance? One-on-one help is available via the Library’s Virtual Reference Room in Blackboard or Phone iconphone (325-486-6534) during the following hours:

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You can also contact us via Email email or by posting on the Ask a Librarian Discussion Board in Blackboard. Messages sent outside of normal service hours will be answered the next day the library is open.