Systematic Searching in PubMed


This short video demonstrates how to build
a systematic search strategy in PubMed. In order to build a systematic search strategy,
you first want to make sure you have a well-defined research question. You can learn more about formulating a research
question using PICO by watching our video tutorial. Here’s an example of a research question
that we will use to demonstrate the systematic search process: In adults with knee osteoarthritis,
is glucosamine effective in reducing pain compared to NSAIDs? We can break this research question into the
PICO components like this: Our Population is adults with knee osteoarthritis. Our Intervention is glucosamine supplementation. Our Comparison is Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs or NSAIDs. Our Outcome is pain. In PubMed, we want to do a search for each
of these elements separately, using MeSH terms and Keywords. For information on how to use MeSH terms to
build a search, watch the video on our Health Sciences Research playlist. First let’s do a search for our Population
or Problem concept. I’ll type the keywords Knee osteoarthritis
into the PubMed search box. Scroll down to the Search Details on the right
side of the results screen. This is where we can see how PubMed is translating
our search terms into an intelligent search strategy. Click on the See More link to view the search
details. Here we see that PubMed has automatically
mapped our search keyword onto the correct MeSH term: osteoarthritis, knee. PubMed is also searching variations on our
keywords, looking for the terms knee and osteoarthritis or the phrase “knee osteoarthritis”. Using a combination of keywords and MeSH terms
is an important element of systematic searching in PubMed, since about 10% of the literature
in PubMed is not indexed using MeSH Terms, and we don’t want to miss any research on
our topic. Now we’ll repeat the process for each of
our PICO elements. We will search each PICO element separately,
and put them together at the end: For our intervention, we search glucosamine as a keyword. And check to see that PubMed is translating
our search to the appropriate MeSH terms by scrolling down to view the Search Details. Again, we see that PubMed is doing exactly
what we want, mapping the MeSH term and also searching a keyword. For our comparison, we search NSAID as a keyword
and scroll down to see how our search term is translated by PubMed’s intelligent searching. Note how PubMed has mapped the search term
to the Mesh term anti-inflammatory agents, non-steroidal and also the pharmacological
action term, as well as searching the terms as keywords anywhere. Finally, our outcome is pain, so we search
pain as a keyword And see that PubMed has translated our search
to use pain as both a MeSH term and a keyword anywhere. Now it’s time to put it all together, using
PubMed’s advanced search screen. Click on the Advanced link under the PubMed
search box. All our previous searches are stored here
in the search history. Click the Add link next to each of our search
concepts to build a search that combines all of our terms. Click Search. We see that our systematic search returns
49 articles. We can use the PubMed filters on the left
side to limit our results or we can scroll through to find all the relevant research
and review articles on our topic. If you are working on a long-term project
such as a thesis or a large literature review, set up a MyNCBI account and save your search. This will allow you to quickly run your search
again in the future. For information about how to set up and use
the features of a MyNCBI account, contact your librarian or visit the PubMed Tutorials
page. Here you’ll find helpful video tutorials
and handouts to help you get the most from PubMed. Need help? Ask us. Chat, email, phone or drop by. This concludes our video on building a systematic
search strategy in PubMed.

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