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PubMed Tutorial from The Levy Library: Practice Using Filters

Practice Using Filters

Scenario 1

To prepare for your research rotation in Dr. Peter Palese's lab, you want to find recent research on pandemic influenza vaccines.

  • Clear any earlier search terms and/or fitlers and search PubMed: pandemic influenza vaccines.

  • Use the filter options to enable the following filters: Article type: Randomized Controlled Trial;  Publication dates:  Custom range: 2012 to 2014. Note that when entering a custom date range, year is required, but month and day are optional.

You should have retrieved about 55 records - more relevant to your search and much easier to manage than the 3,500+ records retrieved without using filters.


Scenario 2

You want to bring a review article to journal club on the human microbiome and its role in disease.
  • Clear all filters from your previous search and Search microbiome.
  • Use the Show additional filters option and select Journal categories.  Once the filter category appears, click on the Core Clinical Journals option to turn this filter on. The Core Clinical Journals filter limits your retrieval to articles in 119 influential clinical journals, such as JAMANEJMLancet and BMJ. It is a great tool for finding high impact articles.
  • In the Article types category, select Review to narrow your results to review articles only.

Using both these filters, you should have retrieved about 110 articles instead of over 13,600, all reviews published in a high impact journal.


Scenario 3

You want to find a few articles on emerging infections. You note that the search term does not map to an appropriate MeSH term, and that many of your results are not on-target. You search with the phase in quotes. You still retrieve over 900 results that are not as precise as you would like.

  • Clear all filters from your previous searches and Search "emerging infections"

  • Show additional filters and select the Search Fields category. Then click Choose, select Title, and Apply.

  • You should have about 270 results, all with the phrase emerging infections in the title.

A search for your terms in the Title field is a way of doing a very narrow subject search. It is not at all comprehensive, but may target just what you need. It is especially useful if there is no MeSH term for your subject, or when you can't find a MeSH term.