Searching PubMed

Searching for peer reviewed articles using PubMed.

Scenario: Obesity is a growing epidemic, especially amongst chidren. Fast food and the fact it is directly advertised to children has been used as a reason for this growing epidemic. If you assume that fast food is at fault what methods can be used to help decrease its promotion towards children.

Step 1. Constructing your question

Before beginning a search on a topic it is important to know exactly what it is you are searching for. The best way to do this is to write out your question into a sentence as succinctly as possible. This process of constructing your question should take 5 minutes or less.
Example: What successful methods have been used to restrict the promotion of fast food to children.

Step 2. Determine key concepts

After you have written or constructed your question you need to identify the key or core concepts in the question. These key concepts are the words you will use when you search PubMed. It can be useful to underline or highlight the key concepts in your question.
Example: What successful methods have been used to restrict the promotion of fast food to children aged between 2 to 5.
  • Restrictions
  • Promotion
  • Fast food
  • Children

Step 3. Identify appropriate synonyms

After you have identified the key concepts it is a good idea to think of some common synonyms for those words. The MeSH database or Google are good places to find synonyms.

Step 4. Combine all search terms

After you have searched for each individual concept you need to go into the Advanced search options and combine them all together with the AND operator.
(Restrictions OR Restrict) AND (Promotion OR Promote OR Advertise) AND (Fast food OR Junk food) AND (Children OR Child) | Search PubMed

Step 5. Apply appropriate limiters

Go into the limits and apply those that are appropriate, publication date, language article is published in and the age group of the population you are interested are the most common limits to apply.