1. Gould, Kathleen Ahern PhD, RN

Article Content

Lecture Series: Using PubMed to Find High Quality Literature. 2020. Johns Hopkins University. YouTube

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This series of lectures, updated in 2020, offers 6 short 10- to 12-minute segments that guide the reader through the complex steps of a literature search. The content comes from the Welsh Medical Library at Johns Hopkins University and is published under Creative Commons Attribution license, allowing generous reuse. In one of the first lectures, the focus is on the most common search techniques. The speaker demonstrates how to use each technique in PubMed. Speakers discuss using the Boolean operators AND and OR to combine search terms, nesting to group similar terms, truncation to search for words with multiple endings, and quotes to search for phrases.


The series allows the learner to apply critical steps and includes tips to ensure that the search is working properly. Simple checks include making sure that one is entering Boolean terms in all capital letters, checking that quotations are in double quotation marks, and a reminder that the asterisk used in truncation works only on the last word of a phase. These key elements are essential to help searchers target the search. The multiple short videos form a foundation to develop a building block approach to searching that may serve as a guide for future searches.


Although some lectures demonstrate how to search PubMed, strategies presented are applicable for other biomedical databases such as Embase, APA PsycInfo, and CINAHL. This series may be added to academic learning platforms, used in clinical education, or introduced in publishing workshops to guide new researchers and writers as they pursue scholarly publication.