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SEARCHING FOR A SCREENING QUESTION




For a quick answer to any evidence-based question, the format for a PubMed search is the same:

1) Search for the disease/condition

2) Search for the intervention (drug, surgery, diagnostic test, screening test, prognostic indicator)

3) Add the appropriate "filter" for that particular type of question.  




The proper filter for a screening question is to search for the desired level of evidence.  For a screening question, the highest level of evidence would be a practice guideline.  In the case of screening, it is also advisable to include the term "Mass Screening" in your search to distinguish the question from one of diagnosis.  

For example, if you wanted to search for information on whether it would be appropriate to use a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer, you would take the following steps.



1) Click on the link at the bottom of the screen to enter the MeSH database.

2) Enter the term "prostate cancer" in the search box.  Click in the box next to the term "Prostatic Neoplasms". Click on the button labeled "Add to Search Builder" on the right side of the screen.

3) Enter the term "psa" in the search box.  Click in the box next to the term "Prostate Specific Antigen". Click on the button labeled "Add to Search Builder" on the right side of the screen.

4) Enter the term "mass screening" in the search box.  Click in the box next to the term "Mass Screening". Click on the button labeled "Add to Search Builder" on the right side of the screen.

4) Click on the button labeled "Search PubMed".  

5) Click on the link for "Limits" above the search box.

6) On the menu for "Publication Types", select  "Practice Guideline".  At this time you can apply whatever other limits you deem appropriate in terms of language, age, or publication date.  Click on the button labeled "Go".

In the event that you cannot locate practice guidelines,  perform the search as above up to step 4 and enter the term "Sensitivity and Specificity" to your search.




Access PubMed



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