The problem: no results in PubMed or no useful results in PubMed.
Don’t panic. You could go back to Search Strategy #1. That would be wise.
But you’re short on time & don’t know what to do.
Here’s one strategy.
(1) Search for your terms in the title of an article. The easiest way to do this is to use the [ti] field tag with each term in the search box. Run the search.
(2) Look for an on-target indexed citation. All citations with this tag (highlighted in yellow) are indexed:
Indexed for MEDLINE
Once you’ve located a useful indexed citation, display the citation in the Citation format by changing the Display setting:
Citation Display Option
This display format will show the MeSH terms used to index the citation. MeSH terms describe content. Use them as search terms (do not tag these with the [ti] tag).
What’s the very first thing to do when you need to find articles about whatever? I mean, the very FIRST thing. You’re not going to believe me but this is it:
Figure out what you’re looking for.
A fuzzy question leads to fuzzy results. You probably don’t want fuzzy.
Defining your research question is the most important part of doing successful literature searching — in PubMed or any other database.
How to define the question?
Any method that gets you thinking in specific terms about what you’re looking for will be useful.
The goal: frame your question in a single sentence.
Two recent changes to My NCBI in PubMed:
- Share Collections
- Customize search filters
These are terrific new developments for your My NCBI account. What’s it mean for you?
Have you ever wanted to share PubMed citations with a group of people? Say you’re all working together on the same project and you’ve been charged with doing the literature search. You’ve got all these great citations but….what? How do you get them to everyone in your group?
- Save the citations as a Collection in your My NCBI account
- Mark the Collection “public”
- Copy the resulting URL
- Email the URL to all the members of your group
- Everyone now has access to the citations in the Collection!
Your collection is not static. If you add additional citations, anyone using your link will see the new additions, too. If you delete citations from the Collection, link users will see the edited list.
Customized Search Filters
When you search PubMed, the default search filters for the results are “All” and “Review.” Through your My NCBI account, you can set additional useful filters.
- Want to see only articles in English? Set a filter for that.
- Want to see only articles published in the last 5 years? Set a filter for that.
- Want to see only articles that are clinical trials? Set a filter for that.
But, what if the filter you want isn’t available?