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PBL Library Resources: Searching Tips

Using other websites.

You've found a website with information that looks good, but is it?  Click on the links below for tips to use to evaluate that website.

items to consider

Did you know that in PubMed you can:


 Use Filters to:

Specify the type(s) of articles retrieved (e.g., Clinical Trials, Case Studies, Reviews)

Specify age groups (e.g., 6-12 year olds, 19-44 year olds, 80 & over, and more)

Specify human or animal studies

Specify the language of the article

Limit resources to specific topics, like Bioethics

Use Clinical Queries to:

Find systematic reviews

Use preformatted filters for evidence-based searching

Target articles on medical genetics

 Want more info?    Find tutorials and hints at the National Library of Medicine at the links below:

Ask your Librarian 

General Tips

General Tips


  •  What are you seeking?
    • disease information (diagnosis, treatment, prognosis), differential diagnosis (symptom, lab result), drug or alternative medicine, common calculations, lab values, evidence based recommendation, or patient education materials?
  •   Where will you start your search?  
    • Begin with the disease, treatment, test, or symptom. 
    • Don’t abbreviate &  use correct spelling (not all resources offer a spell checker)
  •  Identify what type of question you are asking –
    • Background questions
      • When you need quick factual information or recommendations for care
      • Ask background questions in clinical resources  
    • Foreground questions
      • When you need research journal articles because there are no guidelines for care
      • Ask foreground questions using PubMed or Ovid MEDLINE clinical queries
  • Ask answerable questions –   PICO FORMAT –
    • P=Population/Problem  
    • I=Intervention
    • C=Comparison (there may not always be a comparison)
    • O=Outcome
    • (may also have T=Time and/or type of test)