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PubMed

Building Advanced Searches

a picture of the pubmed search builder​​​​​​You can build advanced searches in PubMed in two ways: 

The first option is to use the Advanced Search Builder. This feature, allows you to add pieces of your search together specifying a particular field and boolean operator. This is also a great way to make sure your parenthesis and booleans are formatting correctly since the builder will add them in for you. If you click on "all fields" you can select what field you'd like to search your term in (such as title/abstract) then type in your keyword term and click on "ADD." Repeating the previous steps with a new term, you'll type the term into the search box and then click on the down arrow of the "ADD" box to specify a boolean. When you select a field in the builder it will add what is called a field tag to your query, which looks like a word in brackets.


The second options for advanced searching is to utilize the search history details to formulate your search. This option is popular when building searches for evidence synthesis projects like systematic or scoping reviews.

In this approach, you'll perform multiple searches for each concept of your research question individually. Once every concept has been searched, you'll use the ellipsis under "action"  to select "add to query" and then "add with AND" or another boolean for subsequent search lines. This strategy can make large searches more manageable and also make it easier to try different approaches and combinations.  

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