Off-Campus Access

Finding Evidence in PubMed

This page details the various ways of finding evidence-based literature in PubMed.

By Simple Limit (publication type)

Conduct a search using the MeSH Browser or the query line. Using the limit button, select a publication type. At this point, it is possible to only select one publication type from the limit screen.

For example:

  1. Type on the query line: asthma/dt AND child.
  2. Press enter or click on search button.
  3. Click on the Limits button.
  4. Click on the Publication Types drop down menu.
  5. Click on Clinical Trial.
  6. Click on Go button.

By using Preview/Index (publication type)

Conduct a search using the MeSH Browser or the query line. When the topical search is complete, use Preview/Index to select multiple publication types.

For example:

  1. Click on MeSH Browser (on the sidebar under PubMed Services).
  2. Type: asthma. Click on Go button.
  3. Click on [detailed display]. Click to select drug therapy.
  4. Click on Add button.
  5. Type: nebulizers and vaporizers. Click on Go button.
  6. Click on Add button.
  7. Type: child.
  8. Click on Add button.
  9. Click on PubMed Search.
  10. Click on Preview/History.
  11. Click on All Fields drop down menu.
  12. Click on Publicaton Type. Click on Index button.
  13. Select multiple publication types by holding the control key down and selecting the types. Choices would be: clinical trial (includes controlled clinical trial, randomized controlled trial, clinical tral phase I-IV), evaluation studies, practice guideline, meta-analysis, multicenter study, review (includes all of the different kinds of review articles), validation studies***
  14. Click on And button. (Selections from the Index box will be or'd together)
  15. Click on Go button.

***Note: Because of the length of the Publication Type list, it is impossible to select all the types listed in step 16 at one time. If you need to select all, follow this procedure:

  1. Conduct your topical search via the MeSH Browser.
  2. Clear your search.
  3. Click on Preview/Index.
  4. From the All Fields drop down menu, select Publication Type. Click on Index button.
  5. Using the CTRL key, select the publication types that appear in the first scrollable window.
  6. Click on the AND button.
  7. Click on the Down button in the Index area.
  8. Using the CTRL key, click on the next set of publication types from the next scrollable window.
  9. This time, click the OR button to add the terms to the query box by ORing them with the previous set.
  10. Click the Down button again. Using the CTRL key, select the publication types from the last scrollable window.
  11. Click on the OR button again.
  12. Then click on the Preview button from the top query box. This will gather all the citations with those publication types regardless of the topic.
  13. Click on History and combine the two sets. Remember that a search built this way cannot be saved to the cubby.

By using Research Methodology Filters

There are two choices on the clinical queries page (located on the sidebar under PubMed Services): clinical queries and systematic reviews.

The clinical queries provide four study categories (therapy, diagnosis, etiology, prognosis) with the capability of selecting an emphasis of sensitivity or specificity.

Example:

  1. Select therapy and sensitivity.
  2. Type on the line: asthma AND children AND nebulizer **
  3. Press enter or click on search button.
  4. Examine results. Apply more limits by clicking on the limit button.

**(You can also type in: asthma children nebulizer)

By selecting Systematic Reviews, a topical search is limited to systematic reviews and similar articles. Systematic Reviews is not a limit but a subset and as such, can be searched outside the clinical queries page.

Example One (from the Clinical Queries page):

  1. Select Systematic Reviews.
  2. Type on the line: violence AND all child
  3. Press enter or click on the search button.
  4. Examine results. Apply more limits by clicking on the limit button.

Example Two (from the Query line):

1. Type on the Query line: violence AND all child AND systematic [sb]

These Clinical Queries using Research Methodology Filters are based on:

Haynes RB, Wilczynski N, McKibbon KA, Walker CJ, Sinclair JC.
Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound studies in MEDLINE.
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 1994 Nov-Dec;1(6):447-58.

Shojania KG, Bero LA.
Taking advantage of the explosion of systematic reviews: an efficient MEDLINE search strategy.
Eff Clin Pract. 2001 Jul-Aug;4(4):157-62.

By using MeSH Browser

Conduct a search using the MeSH Browser. When the topical search is complete, choose from the following clinical filters in combination.

Therapy Filter

research design [mh]
clinical trials [mh]
comparative study [mh]
placebos [mh]
multicenter study [pt]
clinical trial [pt]
random* [tiab]
placebo*[tiab]
clinical trial* [tiab]
controlled clinical trial [pt]
randomized controlled trial[pt]
practice guideline [pt]
feasibility studies [mh]
clinical protocols [mh]
single blind* [tiab]
double blind* [tiab]
triple blind* [tiab]
treatment outcomes [mh]
epidemiologic research design[mh]
double blind method [mh]
pilot projects [mh]

Therapy Best Terms

comparative study [mh]
placebos [mh]
clinical trial [pt]
random* [tiab]
controlled clinical trial [pt]
randomized controlled trial [pt]
double blind method [mh]

Therapy Filter String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

research design [mh] OR clinical trials [mh] OR comparative study [mh] OR placebos [mh] OR multicenter study [pt] OR clinical trial [pt] OR random* [tiab] OR placebo*[tiab] OR clinical trial* [tiab] OR controlled clinical trial [pt] OR randomized controlled trial [pt] OR practice guideline [pt] OR feasibility studies [mh] OR clinical protocols [mh] OR single blind* [tiab] OR double blind* [tiab] OR triple blind* [tiab] OR treatment outcomes [mh] OR epidemiologic research design [mh] OR double blind method [mh] OR pilot projects [mh]

Therapy Best Terms String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

comparative study [mh] OR placebos [mh] OR clinical trial [pt] OR random* [tiab] OR controlled clinical trial [pt] OR randomized controlled trial [pt] OR double blind method [mh]

Diagnosis Filter

"sensitivity and specificity"[mh]
diagnostic errors[mh]
sensitivity[tiab]
specificity[tiab]
predictive value*
likelihood ratio*
false negative*
false positive*
controlled clinical trial [pt]
randomized controlled trial [pt]
double blind method[mh]
single blind method[mh]
practice guideline[pt]
diagnosis, differential[mh]
consensus development conference[pt]
random*[tiab]
random allocation[mh]
single blind* [tiab]
double blind* [tiab]
triple blind* [tiab]
likelihood functions[mh]
area under curve[mh]
reproducibility of results[mh]

Diagnosis Best Terms:

"sensitivity and specificity"[mh]
sensitivity OR specificity[tiab]
likelihood ratio*
practice guideline[pt]
likelihood functions[mh]

Diagnosis Filter String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

"sensitivity and specificity"[mh] OR diagnostic errors[mh] OR sensitivity[tiab] OR specificity[tiab] OR predictive value* OR likelihood ratio* OR false negative* OR false positive* OR controlled clinical trial [pt] OR randomized controlled trial [pt] OR double blind method[mh] OR single blind method[mh] OR practice guideline[pt] OR diagnosis, differential[mh] OR consensus development conference[pt] OR random*[tiab] OR random allocation[mh] OR single blind* [tiab] OR double blind* [tiab] OR triple blind* [tiab] OR likelihood functions[mh] OR area under curve[mh] OR reproducibility of results[mh]

Diagnosis Best Terms String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

"sensitivity and specificity"[mh] OR sensitivity[tiab] OR specificity[tiab] OR likelihood ratio* OR practice guideline[pt] OR likelihood functions[mh]

Etiology Filter

random*[tiab]
cohort*[tiab]
risk*[tiab]
causa*[tiab]
predispos*[tiab]
odds ratio[mh]
case control*
odds ratio*
controlled clinical trial [pt]
randomized controlled trial[pt]
risk[mh]
practice guideline[pt]
epidemiologic studies[mh]
case contol studies[mh]
cohort studies[mh]
age factors[mh]
comorbidity[mh]
epidemiologic factors[mh]

Etiology Best Terms

risk[mh]
age factors[mh]
comorbidity[mh]
epidemiologic factors[mh]

Etiology Filter String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

random*[tiab] OR cohort*[tiab] OR risk*[tiab] OR causa*[tiab] OR predispos*[tiab] OR odds ratio[mh] OR case control* OR odds ratio* OR controlled clinical trial [pt] OR randomized controlled trial [pt] OR risk[mh] OR practice guideline[pt] OR epidemiologic studies[mh] OR case contol studies[mh] OR cohort studies[mh] OR age factors[mh] OR comorbidity[mh] OR epidemiologic factors[mh]

Etiology Best Terms String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

risk[mh] OR age factors[mh] OR comorbidity[mh] OR epidemiologic factors[mh]

Prognosis, natural history

cohort studies[mh]
prognosis[mh]
mortality[mh]
morbidity[mh]
"natural history"
prognost*[tiab]
course[tiab]
predict*[tiab]
outcome assessment[mh]
outcome*[tiab]
inception cohort*
disease progression[mh]
survival analysis[mh]

Prognosis and Natural History Best Terms

cohort studies[mh]
prognosis[mh]
disease progression[mh]

Prognosis and Natural History String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

cohort studies[mh] OR prognosis[mh] OR mortality[mh] OR morbidity[mh] OR "natural history" OR prognost*[tiab] OR course[tiab] OR predict*[tiab] OR outcome assessment[mh] OR outcome*[tiab] OR inception cohort* OR disease progression[mh] OR survival analysis[mh]

Prognosis and Natural History Best Terms String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

cohort studies[mh] OR prognosis[mh] OR disease progression[mh]

Meta-analysis, reviews, clinical trials, and other publication types

meta-analysis[mh]
meta-analysis[pt]
medline[tiab]
metannaly*[tiab]
"meta analysis"
overview*[tiab]
clinical trial[pt]
multicenter study[pt]
evaluation studies[pt]
validation studies[pt]
review[pt]
systematic review*

Meta-analysis, reviews, clinical trials, and other publication types String

Copy and paste this string into the PubMed Query box:

meta-analysis[mh] OR meta-analysis[pt] OR medline[tiab] OR metaanaly*[tiab] OR "meta analysis" OR overview*[tiab] OR clinical trial[pt] OR multicenter study[pt] OR evaluation studies[pt] OR validation studies[pt] OR review[pt] OR systematic review*

Saving the Filters

These filters can be saved in your cubby or as bookmarks.

Cubby

Copy and paste the string in the PubMed Query box.
Execute the search.
Click on Cubby (located on the sidebar under PubMed Services).
Change the name of the search to reflect which filter it is.
Click on the Store in Cubby box.

Bookmarks

Copy and paste the string in the PubMed Query box.
Execute the search.
Click on the Details button.
Click on the URL button. (A long URL will appear in the location or address box)
Save as a bookmark. Rename the bookmark to reflect which filter it is.

Links to Best Terms Filters

Use these with caution. Older versions of web browsers can't handle URLs of this size.

Therapy Best Terms

Diagnosis Best Terms

Etiology Best Terms

Prognosis Best Terms

Meta-Analysis Filter