Answered By: Georgiana Grant
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016     Views: 16

Subject Headings are terms that describe an article’s main topics or ideas.  When a new article is added to a database, the people at the database headquarters tag it with subject headings selected from a list of approved, standardized terms, also called controlled vocabulary.  The subject headings reflect the common language and terminology used in a particular field of study and their purpose is to “take the guesswork out of searching by using a single term to describe a subject.”[1]  For example, in business and management, many terms are used for personnel management including human resources, HR, human resources management and staff management.  The standardized subject heading is Personnel Management.  To most effectively search for articles on this topic, start your search in a business and management database, type the term personnel management in one of the search boxes and then limit the field you are searching to the Subject Headings (in an EbscoHost database, the field is referred to SU Subject Terms).  Your results will include only articles that have been tagged with that particular Subject Heading as a main topic.