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Search Filters for Various Databases: PubMed Search Examples

This resource has search filters for different study types organized by interface and database. Make sure you choose the correct one! For example, you can't use the Ovid Medline interface to search PubMed!

Clinical Trials and Systematic Reviews Example

If you are trying to locate prior systematic reviews: If you don't find anything when you use the SR filter, consider removing a concept from your search strategy, i.e. make it broader.  In the search example below, combinations of concepts are used to identify potential SRs as well as clinical trials studies. The rationale for doing it like is that sometimes authors neglect to indicate in their abstracts their study type inclusion criteria. By removing the search filter for clinical trials, you ensure that you are doing a very broad search for POTENTIAL reviews.  It can also be a great way to begin identifying those articles that will be used in the background/rationale part of your paper.

Find clinical trials and potential systematic reviews that looked at the development of vaccines for HIV/AIDS. 

# Search History Results Explanation
#1 "HIV"[Mesh] OR "HIV Infections"[Mesh]

241158

MeSH terms for HIV/AIDS; notice that OR is capitalized-- this is a MUST!

#2 hiv[tiab] OR aids[tiab]

271951

keyword or common terms used;searched in the title and abstract fields

#3 #1 OR #2

314108

finds the UNION of the terms on lines #1 and #2; notice the use of the "#" sign in front of each line number-- this is a MUST!

#4 "vaccines"[MeSH Terms:noexp] OR "viral vaccines"[MeSH Terms:noexp] OR "immunotherapy"[MeSH Terms:noexp] OR ("vaccination"[MeSH Terms] OR "immunization"[MeSH Terms]) OR "immunization programs"[MeSH Terms] OR vaccinate[tiab] OR vaccinated[tiab] OR vaccination[tiab] OR vaccinations[tiab] OR vaccine[tiab] OR vaccines[tiab] OR immunisation[tiab] OR immunisations[tiab] OR immunise[tiab] OR immunised[tiab] OR immunises[tiab] or immunising[tiab] OR immunization[tiab] OR immunizations[tiab] OR immunize[tiab] OR immunized[tiab] OR immunizes[tiab] OR immunizing[tiab]

334385

search filter for vaccines

#5 #3 AND #4

17482

finds the INTERSECTION of the concepts from lines #3 and #5

#6 “clinical trial”[Publication Type] OR “Clinical Trials as Topic”[mesh] OR “Double-Blind Method”[Mesh] OR (randomized[TIAB] AND (trial[TIAB] OR trials[tiab])) OR ((single[TIAB] OR double[TIAB] OR doubled[TIAB] OR triple[TIAB] OR tripled[TIAB] OR treble[TIAB] OR treble[TIAB]) AND (blind*[TIAB] OR mask*[TIAB]))

953739

search filter for clinical trials

#7 #5 AND #6

2554

finds the INTERSECTION of the concepts from lines #5 and #6

#8 #7 AND 2005:2013[dp] AND english[la]

1101

finds articles from line #7 that were published since 2005 in English

#9 (systematic*[tiab] AND (bibliographic*[TIAB] OR literature[tiab] OR review[tiab] OR reviewed[tiab] OR reviews[tiab])) OR (comprehensive*[TIAB] AND (bibliographic*[TIAB] OR literature[tiab])) OR “cochrane database syst rev”[Journal] OR “cochrane database of systematic reviews online”[Journal] OR “research synthesis”[tiab] OR “research integration”[tiab] OR cinahl[tiab] OR embase[tiab] OR medline[tiab] OR psyclit[tiab] OR (psycinfo[tiab] NOT “psycinfo database”[tiab]) OR pubmed[tiab] OR scopus[tiab] OR “web of science”[tiab] OR “data synthesis”[tiab] OR meta-analys*[tiab] OR meta-analyz*[tiab] OR meta-analyt*[tiab] OR metaanalys*[tiab] OR metaanalyz*[tiab] OR metaanalyt*[tiab] OR “meta-analysis as topic”[MeSH] OR Meta-Analysis[ptyp] OR ((review[tiab] AND (rationale[tiab] OR evidence[tiab])) AND review[pt])

230853

search filter for systematic reviews

#10 #7 AND #9

59

finds potential reviews in the results from line #7; notice this isn't limited by year or by language-- it's best to broaden the search when scoping out potential reviews.

#11 #5 AND #9

299 

broaden the search for potential reviews by removing the clinical trials filter.