Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Cochrane Library Guide

A guide to using the Cochrane Library with tutorials and other resources.


MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus, consists of terms naming descriptors in a hierarchical structure that permits searching at various levels of specificity.

In other words, MeSH terms describe what a review is about and are used to label all reviews on a topic even if different authors use different words for the same concept (such as cancer vs. neoplasm vs. tumor).


  1. In the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, click on the "Medical Terms (MeSH)" link located in the search box.
  2. Enter a keyword to search for the corresponding MeSH term. A list of suggested terms will appear as you type.

  3. Enter any subheadings or qualifiers you want to use (click the text box to see the full list).
  4. Click "Lookup" to see the MeSH entry.
  5. Click "View Results" from the MeSH entry to see all Cochrane Library items that match the MeSH term.

Note: you can also search for MeSH terms from the Search Manager (also accesible from the search box).