CSD 600: Research Methods

PubMed: Advantages & Limitations



Focus on health sciences

Use of controlled vocabulary (MeSH)

Indexes for geographic areas and ethnic groups

Unable to do phrase searching

If you use only MeSH terms to search:

you miss articles not yet indexed

PubMed: Search Tools

PubMed offers some advanced features to build your search:

Filters: Use filters to narrow your search results by date, language, article type, etc.

Building Blocks: Use Boolean logic (AND, OR, and NOT), search history, phrase searching, and truncation.

MeSH: An acronym for Medical Subject Headings; PubMed/MEDLINE uses MESH terms for indexing articles. 

Topic Specific Queries: Prefabricated searches that limit to specific topics (i.e. cancer, bioethics, therapy, alternative medicine)

PubMed: Manage Results

Display/Sort: Use the Display Settings menu to change the display format, the number of citations per page and the sort order of your results.

Send to: An menu option to send or copy PubMed records to a file, to the Clipboard, to Collections, to E-Mail, to order, to My Bibliography, or to a Citation manager program.

MyNCBI: A feature that allows you to save records and searches, and customize your results display with filters and other options.

PubMed: Search Tips



Truncation - Not advised in PubMed, interferes with its controlled vocabulary and will prohibit mapping to MeSH terms.



Display settings - View MeSH terms for an article in abstract view

Searching with tags - Limit your search by looking only for words that appear in the title using the [ti] or [title] tags Learn more about tags here


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