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Levy Library Blog

Featured Staff Blog Post: Using PubMed to locate studies and trials that focus on healthcare disparities

by Angelyn Thornton on 2021-05-12T08:00:00-04:00 | Comments


Samantha Walsh, Manager of Information & Education Services


You may want to see if there are clinical studies that focus on healthcare disparities in your own area of interest. A combination of Boolean operators and PubMed filters can make this quick and easy!

First, access PubMed via the Levy Library homepage. You’ll see a link listed under “Popular Tools.” Next, run a search for (disparities OR disparity OR inequalities OR inequality).


PubMed search bar


There should be over 100,000 results. You’ve basically just searched for any records in PubMed that contain any of these four terms. Next, we want to limit to Clinical Studies. On the left-hand side of your screen, locate the Article Type filter. You most likely won’t see Clinical Study listed underneath, therefore you should click Additional Filters at the bottom of this column. On the pop-up, check off “Clinical Study” so that this filter appears under Article Type on your main screen. Once you click it on the search results page, your results should narrow significantly, and be comprised of mainly clinical studies & trials. 

Note: You may be wondering why you don’t need to invoke all of the study filters you see, such as “Clinical Trial Phase III” or “Observational Study.” This is due to the hierarchical, tree structure of these tags. By invoking the broad “Clinical Study” filter, you are actually searching all of the study types nested below it in the hierarchy. 


Article type filter & additional filters


You’ll want to add keywords to narrow this search down to your own area of interest. You’ll do this by adding to your original keyword search using the Boolean operator AND. For example, return to the search bar at the top of the page and type AND (ovarian cancer OR gynecologic cancer OR cervical cancer). Add any synonyms that you can think of, connecting them with the operator OR. Your final search should look something like this: (disparities OR disparity OR inequalities OR inequality) AND (ovarian cancer OR gynecologic cancer OR cervical cancer).

Finally, be sure you’re sorting by Best Match. This will ensure that the most relevant studies come to the top of your results list. 


Searching by Best Match


For more information on searching PubMed, visit our guide or schedule a consultation with a librarian!

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