Skip to Main Content

Nutritional Sciences

Provides resources, strategies, and information on conducting research in the nutritional sciences.

Why Search PubMed?

PubMed logo


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 on the main PubMed window, & click the Search button.

Search Results

Your results are listed on the Search Results page.

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.

PubMed search box on the search page with revised search string (1st 2 phrases in quotation marks)


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.

Search Tip - "Search Details"

What if your search results are not quite what you expected or they seem really off-base?  Check Search details, which you can find on the Advanced page. Find the search  in your search history, then use the arrow to open the search details window. It shows you how PubMed "translated" your search.

 PubMed's Advanced page, with a detail of Search history.


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.

Search Tip - Make Sure to See Recent Articles Easily

By default, your search results are sorted by "Best match". This can push newer articles lower down in your search results. When you're working on a research project, consider changing the Display Options from Best match to Most recent.

Display options on the PubMed results page.

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 type, Publication date, Species, Languages, & Ages.

Some useful filters Species / Humans (unless you're looking specifically for animal research), & Languages / English.  In this search,  Ages / Adolescent will also be helpful.

Some filters are readily available, others are more hidden. To add languages other than English, ages other than the ones that are visible, & other types of filters, click on the Additional filters link below the filter list. Select the Types of filter, 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 from the list.

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 at the top of the results. Remember to clear all filters when you do a new search.

Message about the filters that have been applied to this search. CLick the Clear all link at the end of your search session.

Finally, if you want to see just more recent articles or articles published within a specific date range, add a date filter.