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Focusing your PubMed Search

You may be searching a broad topic that is not specific to the dental field. Previously PubMed had a filter specific to Dental Journals, but they removed this filter. Don't despair! You can use the Advanced Search and brainstorm keywords to make it relevant to the Dental Field.

Below are steps for using the Advanced Search in PubMed and keyword brainstorming to try to focus your search on the dental field. Please see the below-linked worksheet to help with brainstorming keywords.

Step 1: Once in PubMed, click on Advanced under the search box..

Screenshot showing PubMed's Advanced Search link

Step 2: Enter one concept at a time into the top box that says Add terms to the query box. When there is more than one keyword that can be used for the desired concept, use the word or between each keyword/keyword phrase. The screenshot below shows brainstormed keywords for learning more about Down Syndrome. Note the search string that uses quote marks to tell the database that the keywords must show up exactly as between quotes, and the word or between each keyword phrase. This is the search string: "Down Syndrome" or "Downs Syndrome" or "Down's Syndrome" or "Trisomy 21"

Screenshot of PubMed's Advanced Search screen reiterating Step 2 above

Step 3: You may wish to narrow your search by using the drop-down box that says All Fields, and change it to Title or Title/Abstract. If your keywords are found in the title or abstract, the article is more likely to be on-topic. When you've got your search string ready, click on Add to the right of the top box, and your search terms will go to the lower Query box with PubMed coding.

Screenshot of PubMed's Advanced Search reiterating Step 3

Step 4: If your topic is not specific to the dental field, then enter terms into the top search box to try and narrow your topic so it's more dental-specific. Below is a suggested search string that can pick up phrases such as dental hygiene, dental hygienist, dental team, tooth decay, etc., and other terms relevant to the dental field - you may want to copy and paste this search string into PubMed's top Advanced search Add terms to the query box.

Search string to focus on Dental Field:   dental or dentist or dentistry or teeth or tooth or mouth or oral 

Step 5: Any time you're finished adding a new concept into the top Add terms to the query box, you'll click AND to the right of the top box to send it to the lower Query box. Prior to clicking AND, be sure to adjust the drop-down to the right of the box as needed to specify searching All Fields or Title, or Title/Abstract, etc.

Screenshot of PubMed's Advanced Search reiterating Steps 4 & 5 above

Step 6: Once you've entered all of your concepts and sent them to the lower Query box, you're now ready to click on Search! Check out your results and realize that you may need to rerun your search and move your keywords to All Fields, Title only, etc.

Screenshot showing Step 6