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Library Research Guides

Epidemiology

Provides resources, strategies, and information on conducting research in Epidemiology.

Why Search PubMed?

 

 

PubMed is the free interface for the premier biomedical database, MEDLINE.  It was created & is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.  PubMed contains both primary & secondary literature.  Because it's a free to access, you can use it even when you leave the University of Michigan.

Articles in PubMed are indexed by MeSH (Medical Subject Headings), terms that have specific definitions within the database & help you to create more focused searches.

Running a Search

Enter your search terms, using synonyms, parentheses, & Boolean operators, in the main search bar at the top of the PubMed window, & click the Search button.

Search Results

Your results are listed on the Search Results page.

You can see that there are many results, including some that are not related to the question.

Revising Your Search

Putting dietary intake and food intake in quotation marks will restrict this part of the search to those phrases.  The phrases won't map to MeSH terms, but may provide a more focused set of results.

And that's exactly what happens.


Because there are still so many results, add United States to the search: 

(dietary intake OR food intake) AND (dairy products OR milk OR cheese OR yogurt) AND United States.

Focusing Your Search with Filters

Filters, which can be found on the left side of the Search Results page, can help you focus your search appropriately.  Categories include Article types, Publication dates, Species, Languages, & Ages.

  • Two filters that are almost always useful are Species/Humans (unless you're looking specifically for animal research) and Language/EnglishAges/Adolescent will also be useful in this search.
  • These filters are always readily available:  Article type, Text Availability (which you should ignore while you're at Michigan), Publication dates , &  Species.  First, click Humans to add that filter to the search.
  • To add Language, Age, & other types of filters, click on the Show additional filters link above or below the filter list. Check the filters you want to add, then click the Show button to make the filters appear on the screen.  Next choose the filter(s) you want to add.  To find Adolescent, click the More link at the end of the Ages category.
  • When you apply filters, they appear above your search results.  You can clear a filter by clicking the name of the filter or the Clear link, or clear all at the top of the results.
  • Remember to clear all filters when you do a new search.

Finally, if you want to see more recent articles, add a date filter.  Limiting this search to the last 5 years gives 30 results, a reasonable set of results to look through.

Search Tip - Keeping Recent Articles in Your Search

Before you add filters, be sure to look through your results to find citations that haven't been indexed yet.  They will be marked as [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] or [PubMed - in process].  These articles are found only through keyword searching.

If you find any articles that are of interest, either look at them immediately or save them to the Clipboard, a temporary holding space, so that you can look at them later.  Use the Send to link in the upper right & select Clipboard.

Search Tip - "Search Details"

What if your search results are not quite what you expected or they seem really off-base?  Check Search Details, a box in the lower right of the Search Results page, which shows you how PubMed "translated" your search.

 

 

Click on the See more link to discover how PubMed "maps" any term that you enter to MeSH terms when possible & also does a keyword search.

PubMed detail of Search Details window

If at least one term for each concept in your search doesn't map to a MeSH term, you should rethink your search terms or contact the library for help.

 

Look at how some terms were "translated," for example, dietary intake mapped to diet.  This is why the search results are so far off topic.  We'll need to revise the search.