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This guide provides instruction for searching in PubMed and guidance on issues related to academic integrity, including citing sources. This guide also includes links to additional online resources that can be used to discover evidence-based interventions in public health-related areas.
This free service from PubMed provides several methods (filters) for extracting EBM materials from the PubMed database. By design the clinical studies topic areas are limited. Use full PubMed if comprehensive searching is required.
Enter keywords or phrases that capture the primary aspects of your topic into the default PubMed search box. Don't use full sentences or punctuation or search operators like AND/OR/NOT.
See the image below or watch this short PubMed Find Articles on a Topic video tutorial.
You can explore the MeSH terms (Medical Subject Headings) assigned to article records and revise your search to better focus on the aspects of your topic you wish to explore. Think of MeSH terms like "tags" that are applied to social media posts. MeSH terms are specific to PubMed and provide a consistent language to describe or label concepts that various authors may describe differently.
The example article record below shows its MeSH terms and highlights several that might be helpful in revising the search to find articles that specifically address failure to vaccinate.
Search results can be refined to include only those articles that provide some level of evidence that the intervention/program works. PubMed defaults to a limited set of filter options. Use the Additional Filters button at the bottom of the filters to select additional filters/filter options to show on the results page.
Filters are selected one at a time. Remember to Reset Filters (button at bottom of filter column) or Clear All option (at top of search results column) before doing the next search. PubMed filters are "sticky" as they do not automatically reset between searches.
PubMed's Advanced Search options can be accessed from the under the default search box or from the search results page (see images below).
From the Advanced Search page, you can tell PubMed to search for terms/phrases in specific PubMed search fields. In some cases, this can help to narrow or focus a search that has too many results. The image below shows a search strategy that tells PubMed to look only for articles where the designated search terms show up in the MeSH field of the article record. Furthermore this strategy tells PubMed to look only for those articles where the term in the MeSH field has been identified as a major (not minor or secondary) concept present in the article (meaning this is what the article primarily addresses).
Also from the Advanced Search page, you can view your searching history and use it to construct new search strategies without retyping all your keywords/phrases. The image below shows a new search constructed from two previous searches.
With Google Scholar you can search broadly (across several disciplines) with one search. You can use Google Scholar to find peer-reviewed articles, but you will also find pre-print copies of articles, conference papers, white papers, patents, legal opinions and more.
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