If you’re a frequent user of PubMed, you may be familiar with the Article Types filter available on the Search Results page. This filter limits search results by attaching an additional search term to your search string. So, for example, if you enter the search terms “therapeutic hypothermia cardiac arrest” in PubMed, applying the Clinical Trial filter adds “AND Clinical Trial[pytyp]” to the end of the PubMed search string. That will limit your search to records tagged with Medical Subject Headings such as Clinical Trial, Controlled Clinical Trial, or Randomized Controlled Trial.
While the Article Types filter is one option for limiting to a particular study type, it can severely reduce the number of records you see and, more importantly, miss the records of very recently published articles. If that is a concern for you, check out another set of PubMed filters available through PubMed Clinical Queries. Also found as link on the PubMed home page, this set of filters is more “sensitive” than the Article Types filter, meaning they are more likely to find relevant records, including records for recently published studies.
On the PubMed Clinical Queries page, you’ll see a search box, with three columns underneath. Enter your search terms in the search box and click on Search.
Search results are organized underneath three categories:
- Clinical Study Categories will contain records of evidence-based studies that can be used to answer clinical questions about therapy, etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, or clinical prediction guidelines (use the drop down menu for Category to choose one of these options). You can also adjust the scope of your search to be either narrow and specific (more relevant records, fewer results) or broad and sensitive (more results, more irrelevant records).
- Records in the Systematic Reviews column will primarily be systematic reviews, meta-analyses, guidelines, clinical reviews, or consensus development conferences.
- The Medical Genetics column will display studies that address genetic testing, genetic counseling, molecular genetics, or use of genetics for diagnosis.
Give Clinical Queries a try the next time you use PubMed!
~Mary Lou Klem