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PubMed @ UMSL

Step-by-step guide to PubMed's basic and advanced features, with downloadable handouts.


Visible filters

Filters can be found on the left side of the Results page. You can narrow your results by filtering on full text availability, publication date, species, etc. The default filters are shown in the image above, but many other filters can be found by using the Additional filters link at the bottom of the column; these include languages, journal categories, sex, and ages (as shown in the first image below). After adding the filters to make them visible, you still need to select them to apply them to your results. You’ll see a blue check mark when a filter has been applied (as shown in the second image below).

Adding age filters; select and click Show to make visible on results page     Selecting a filter after adding

 NOTE  Unlike CINAHL, PubMed does not have a filter to find authors who are nurses. You can, however, find Nursing journals by clicking the Additional filters button.

Adding Nursing journals to the visible filters

Filters remain in place until you change them (by selecting/deselecting checkmarks) or remove them (by clicking Clear all). Filters other than language or date will exclude new records that are “in process” or “supplied by publisher.”

Filters added, with link to "clear all"

Boolean Operators AND and NOT

Three Venn diagrams representing the intersection of heart AND lung, the separation of heart OR lung, and the exclusion of heart NOT lung.

To narrow results, use the Boolean operators AND and NOT (in capital letters). In PubMed, as in many databases, the default operator is AND—so a keyword search of exercise anxiety will look for results that contain both words (and will not strictly search for articles that discuss anxiety about exercise; for that, you should consider a phrase search, as discussed in the Search Basics section). To narrow the search even further, try adding more terms—exercise meditation anxiety—​or exclude terms—​exercise anxiety NOT diet.

Additional Tips

  • Choose the most specific subject headings or most significant key words.
  • Increase the number of search concepts that are ANDed together.
  • Use fewer synonyms for terms.
  • Limit to review articles by using filters.
  • Limit your search to specific types of article, languages, age groups, current years, etc., by using filters.
  • Use MeSH subheadings to narrow the focus of the subject heading if appropriate.
  • Make a term from the thesaurus (i.e., MeSH or subject heading list) the main focus of the article ([Majr] in PubMed).
  • Ask for significant words to be in the title of the article (field searching).