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PubMed Tutorial from The Levy Library: Summary

Summary: Basic Search Module

Remember .....

When you enter a word in the query box, PubMed uses Automatic Term Mapping to search for that word and any synonyms from the MeSH vocabulary in all the fields (author, abstract, title, etc.) of the citation record.

PubMed does not search the full-text of articles. It searches MEDLINE and other records that describe articles.

More Bang

Check the Search Details to see if PubMed interpreted your query as you expected.

Use AND, OR, NOT and/or parentheses to build longer search statements.

Use quotation marks and truncation with care. Both turn off Automatic Term Mapping.

The Similar articles link is a valuable tool designed to help you locate articles on similar topics.

Best Practice

Check the Search Details, especially when you begin a new search or if your results appear off-target.

If you don't see a MeSH Term, spell out the abbreviation or use another synonym until your search maps to the term you need.

In general, do NOT use abbreviations as search terms. These usually do not map to the MeSH vocabulary.

Get into a habit of using parentheses every time you combine search terms with OR. Then you don't need to remember which way PubMed processes your search.

Many gene names do not map to MeSH Terms. Combine the different names of a gene with ORs to create a more complete search. 

Do NOT use quotes or truncation until you first try your search without them. Both turn off Automatic Term Mapping

If you use quotes or truncation for one concept in your search, remember to use AND to combine it with other concepts.