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Public Health

This guide contains resources from the University Library to help with your study and support your research in Public Health.

Health Statistics Resources

Using MeSH for health statistics:

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings): provides a consistent way to retrieve information where authors use different terminology for the same concepts. To search PubMed effectively, you will need to be aware of the MeSH terms used to search for topics relating to health promotion.

You will find material on health statistics in PubMed, but you will need to be aware of the thesaurus (MeSH) terms available for searching. Below are some examples of the language PubMed uses to describe the concepts in this field.

MeSH Subheadings:

When you search for subjects using MeSH terms from the PubMed thesaurus you will also have the option of appending subheadings to narrow the focus of your search.

The subheadings below may also be useful when you are searching for statistical material.

Statistics and Numerical Data
Used with non-disease headings for the expression of numerical values which describe particular sets or groups of data. It excludes manpower distribution, for which "manpower" is used and excludes supply or demand for which "supply and distribution" is used.

Used with human and veterinary diseases for the distribution of disease, factors which cause disease, and the attributes of disease in defined populations; includes incidence, frequency, prevalence, endemic and epidemic outbreaks; also surveys and estimates of morbidity in geographic areas and in specified populations. Used also with geographical headings for the location of epidemiologic aspects of a disease. Excludes mortality for which "mortality" is used.

Used with diseases and selected terms for ethnic, cultural, anthropological, or racial aspects, and with geographic headings to indicate the place of origin of a group of people.

Used with human and veterinary diseases for mortality statistics. For deaths resulting form various procedures statistically, but for death resulting in a specific case use the MeSH term "fatal outcome".

Supply and Distribution
Used for the quantitative availability and distribution of material, equipment, health services, personnel, and facilities. It excludes food supply and water supply in industries and occupations.

Used with equipment, facilities, programs, services, and health personnel for discussions, usually with data, of how much they are used. It includes discussions of overuse and underuse.

Try the search strategy below to search for articles which deal with statistical information on smoking in Australia.

Smoking/Statistics and Numerical Data (MeSH term)
Inhaling and exhaling the smoke of tobacco or something similar to tobacco. Marijuana smoking is listed as a more specific subcategory.


Australia (MeSH term)
The advantage of searching Australia as a thesaurus term is that "exploding" the term will include the following more specific areas.

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

PubMed Search Formulation

"smoking/sn"[majr] AND "australia"[mh] AND english[lang]

The search strategy above uses the subheading statistics and numerical data "sn" associated with smoking. The section in the square brackets includes majr - which focuses the search on articles where the subject is a major issue in the article. As PubMed's default is to "explode" terms marijuana smoking is also included in this search. The search is then limited to Australia, and to articles in English or with English abstracts.