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Clinical Research: Literature Search

Resources Guide for Clinical Research

Looking for Assistance?

If you are preparing to do your first literature review or search, the process can seem overwhelming. Meeting with a library staff member can assist you in breaking down the steps of a literature review, determining keywords and MeSH terms, and also get the project moving forward.

Feel free to contact the library today and schedule a time to discuss your potential project and literature review:

Margaret Hoogland (College of Medicine Library Liaison - 4th Floor of the Mulford Building)

Phone: 419.383.4214


Office Hours: 8:30-5 pm Monday-Friday

Searching for Literature Related to a Medical Specialty

Each article in PubMed is described/indexed by a specific set of terms that are called Medical Subject Headings (MeSH terms). MeSH Terms are assigned to articles three to six months, after they have been added to the database. This is why it is important to combine both MeSH and keywords (important) terms in when searching.

Some ways to organize your search terms are listed below:

AND - when placed between terms, the database retrieves articles with both terms. Search is usually narrowed using this technique.

OR - when placed between terms, the database retrieves articles containing either term. Search is usually expanded using this technique.

NOT - all terms following NOT are excluded. Use with extreme caution.

"term" - this is perfect for isolating a specific information from relevant results.

* - use at the end of term to include variations of spelling, plural forms, and more (Ex. dog*)

( ) - use these when combining multiple terms connected by OR. It is perfect for combining like terms and then connecting the strings of terms (see below).

  • Ex. (dogs OR dog) AND (cat OR cats OR kittens)


PubMed Tutorials