LGBTQI Health Research & Practice

Open Access & UNC Chapel Hill subscribed library resources to support research, clinical practice and education with LGBT patients

Phrasing an LGBTQI Research Question

Social and cultural norms and discussion surround LGBT people has been changing rapidly in the United States and around the world, leading to rapid changes in acceptable and/or widely used vocabulary. Library and research terminology changes more slowly, and older research articles often uses verbiage now considered outdated or unacceptable or overly clinical for use in conversation or writing. This brief guide hopes to help searchers take this fact into account and find all useful terms to use in searches.

Medical & Social Terminology

These sources list current social vocabulary relating to LGBTI issues. Keyword and natural language searching will find many of these terms in relevant articles and news stories, both in PubMed and in other databases.

PubMed & MeSH Terminology

PubMed and other medical research databases index their articles using the National Library of Medicine's MeSH subject headings. Many older or even some current MeSH terms for LGBT concepts are no longer acceptable socially or are rarely used. Many commonly used terms are not reflected in MeSH at all.

Due to this issue, it is critical that you consult the MeSH database to find all terms to search PubMed effectively. You may also search for common terms using a keyword search, but many useful articles will not include them. To be most effective, you will need to search using both MeSH and common terminology.

MeSH Terms and Examples

Note: Entry Terms are used as synonyms in MeSH and indexed together.

Common Terms MeSH Terms MeSH Subheadings MeSH Examples
  • Lesbian
  • Queer
  • Gay female
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Entry Terms:
    • Female Homosexuality
    • Lesbianism
    • Lesbians
    • Lesbian
  • epidemiology
  • ethnology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • physiology
  • psychology
  • statistics and numerical data
"Homosexuality, Female/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] AND "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]
  • Gay male
  • Queer
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Entry Terms:
    • Male Homosexuality
  • epidemiology
  • ethnology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • physiology
  • psychology
  • statistics and numerical data
"Homosexuality, Male/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] AND "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]
  • Bisexual
  • Bisexuality
  • Bi
  • Bisexuality
  • Entry Terms:
    • Bisexuals
    • Bisexual
  •     classification
  •     drug effects
  •     epidemiology
  •     ethics
  •     ethnology
  •     history
  •     physiology
  •     psychology
  •     statistics and numerical data
"bisexuality/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] AND "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]
  • Transgender
  • Transperson
  • Transman
  • Transwoman
  • Trans
  • Transgender Persons
  • Entry Terms:
    • Person, Transgender
    • Persons, Transgender
    • Transgender Person
    • Transgenders
    • Transgender
    • Transgendered Persons
    • Person, Transgendered
    • Persons, Transgendered
    • Transgendered Person
    • Intersex Persons
    • Intersex Person
    • Person, Intersex
    • Persons, Intersex
    • Transsexual Persons
    • Person, Transsexual
    • Persons, Transsexual
    • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexualism
  • Entry Terms
    • Transsexualisms
  • classification
  • education
  • history
  • legislation and jurisprudence
  • organization and administration
  • psychology
  • statistics and numerical data
"Transgender Persons/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] AND "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]
  • Homosexuality
  • Gayness
  • Queerness
  • Homosexuality
  • Entry Terms
    • Homosexuals
    • Homosexual
    • Queers
    • Queer
    • Gays
    • Gay
    • Homosexuality, Ego-Dystonic
    • Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality
    • Homosexuality, Ego Dystonic
  • analysis
  • blood
  • chemically induced
  • classification
  • complications
  • diagnosis
  • drug effects
  • drug therapy
  • epidemiology
  • ethics
  • ethnology
  • etiology
  • genetics
  • history
  • immunology
  • legislation and jurisprudence
  • metabolism
  • microbiology
  • organization and administration
  • physiology
  • physiopathology
  • prevention and
"Homosexuality/statistics and numerical data"[Mesh] AND "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]

 

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