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Clerkship Resources: PubMed Clinical Queries

Keys to success in the clerkships and beyond.

Evidence Filters

EBM Filters enable you to limit your search results by date, article type, and other characteristics. Some scholarly databases build in filters to help quickly identify the best evidence. If your database does not provide EBM filters, you may have to add search terms to filter your results to find the evidence.

Built in Filters

Example: Clinical Queries from PubMed

Clinical Queries has two EBM filters: Clinical Study Categories and Systematic Reviews.

Clinical Study Categories

  • Clinical Study Categories is optimized to find articles that used optimal studies designs for five types of questions: Therapy, Diagnosis, Etiology, Prognosis and Clinical Prediction Guides. Therapy is the default category.
  • You can also select a broad (sensitive) or narrow (specific) search retrieval.

Systematic Reviews 

  • This filter is designed to retrieve more than systematic reviews. It also is intended to retrieve citations identified meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development conferences, guidelines, and more. 

The link to Clinical Queries is available on the PubMed home page, where it is listed under PubMed Tools.

Do-It-Yourself Filters

Example: Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a version of Google that enables you to search for peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports from broad areas of research. 

Find Current Evidence: 

  • Use Google Scholars' date filter. The default is "Any Time"; choose the last 5 years or less.

    Why? Google Scholar results are ranked by relevance, not by date. One of the the factors included in its ranking algorithm is citation count: how many times a paper has been cited in other scholarly publications. Older papers have had more time to be cited and are more likely to appear at the top of results. Current evidence may be buried pages into the search results. 

Find Best Evidence

  • Google Scholar does not have evidence filters, so you have to add your own search terms to retrieve systematic reviews, meta-analysis, and optimal study types for the question that you have. A simple suggestion: add search terms for the type of evidence that you would like to find. Usually one or two words are all that is needed. View some suggestions below.


Study types Search Terms

Systematic reviews  

systematic, search





Study of the treatment or prevention of a problem

random, randomized

Study of the value of a diagnostic test

specificity, gold standard, reference standard

Study of the prognosis of a disease or condition 

cohort study, prospective, longitudinal

Study of the etiology (cause) of a problem

risk factor, harm, adverse effect, exposure