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Concise Tips for Using PubMed

Basic Searching
Advanced Tips
When you first enter PubMed, you will be searching by keyword.  To search by Medical Subject Heading (MeSH), select “MeSH Database” at the bottom of the screen.

Enter your first term. If PubMed is able to find a match, you will be offered a series of choices. Click in the box next to the term you wish to search on, if more than one is offered. Click on the button labeled “Add to Search Builder” on the right side of the screen.

Perform this step as many times as necessary. You will begin to see your search build up in the search box. When you have entered all the terms you need to, click on the button labeled “Search PubMed”.

To apply necessary limits, select the filters on the left side of the screen. You may apply as many filters as you like by clicking on the value of the filter applied.

To look at the abstract for a specific article, click on the title.  Some publishers allow you to link out to the full text of an article by clicking on an icon at the top of the abstract

If you want to apply sub-headings to your search term, click on the term and you will get a detailed display of all available options.

If you want to combine searches, click on the option for “Advanced Search” on the grey bar that contains the search box.  You may combine as many searches in the history as you like.  Remember to place the pound sign (#) before the set number.

If you want to email your results, select "E-mail" from the link labeled "Send to".

If you find a good article and want to see what other similar articles exist, click on the link for “Related Articles”.  To find the most recent article, click on the link labeled "Sort by". Then select "Publication Date". This will sort the articles with the most recent coming up first. 

Another option in PubMed that is helpful if you are searching for evidence-based articles is to click on “Clinical  Queries” at the bottom of the screen.  Enter your search terms and then from the results menu, select the type of article you are searching for (therapy, diagnosis, etiology, and prognosis).  Then decide whether you want to find the most focused articles (specificity) or a broader look (sensitivity). You can also look for Systematic Reviews on this page.
Keep in mind that with this option you are always searching by keyword.

This guide is designed to offer concise tips to searching PubMed.  A full tutorial is available.