Skip to Main Content

Library Resources for Nursing PhD Students: Exploring: PubMed

This guide provides information on how best to utilize library resources throughout your PhD program at the College of Nursing.

Start here


Limits and filters allow you to narrow the results down to only the ones that are most relevant. Common limits that are applied include: article type, date, and language.

Tip: the more limits and filters you set, the narrower your results will be. It is possible for you to limit your results all the way down to 0, so be careful.

Tip 2: do not limit by Full Text. As a student of ECU, you can receive the full text of articles either with your PirateID and password, or through our free Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if ECU does not own a copy of the article. Electronic resources can be e-mailed to your ECU account.

Using PubMed

Personal accounts in databases are free, and I strongly recommend creating an account for each database you may use. They are particularly valuable when you need to save your searches for longer than your current browsing period. Closing your browser almost always erases your search history; having a personal account allows you to save searches that you may want to look at again later.

To create an account in PubMed, click on Log In at the top right of the page.

Scroll down until you see "more login options."

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to create an account in PubMed

Next, click on E, then locate East Carolina University and click.

You will be taken to the Single Sign-On (SSO) page. Enter your PirateID and password. Then click Sign In.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to create an account in PubMed

PubMed makes its basic search feature fairly simple. Just copy and paste the search string you created from your concept table into the search bar, then click Search.

(Nurse OR Nurses OR "Nursing personnel") AND ("Health literacy") AND (Rural OR "Rural areas" OR "Rural health centers" OR "Rural population" OR "Rural populations" OR "Rural health nursing" OR "Underserved populations")

After clicking Search, you will see the results page. You can apply limits and filters by clicking the words on the left-hand sidebar.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to search in PubMed

Clicking on Additional filters will offer more options for filter types.

Select the ones you want to see, click on Show, and then click on the filters to apply them after the page has refreshed. As you select filters, PubMed will refresh the results page to display only those articles that meet the selected criteria.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to set filters in PubMed

To access articles that look relevant to you, click on the article title to open the article page. Click on one of the links to the right to view Full Text of the article.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to open full text in PubMed

The Cite feature automatically generates citations in AMA, MLA, APA, and NLM citation styles. (Note: proofread these citations carefully before submitting any assignments.) Page through your results from the article record page by clicking the arrows to the right and left of the page. Use the record navigation menu on the right to jump down to specific areas of the article record. For instance, clicking on Similar Articles will quickly jump the page down to show you the articles that are related to this one.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to cite in PubMed

To save the article to a citation manager (like RefWorks, Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote), click on "Send to" from either the article page or the results page. Select "Citation manager." If on the results page, choose if you want to save the selection, the current page you're viewing, or the entire results.

Then, click on "Create file."

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to save articles from PubMed

To save articles to RefWorks, log in from the Laupus homepage, then click Add.

Select Import References.

Click "select a file from your computer."

Find the PubMed .nbib file that you downloaded.

Then click Import, Import, OK.

To view the full record for an article, click on the title. To read the full abstract, click on "View full abstract."

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to save articles to RefWorks from PubMed

Setting an alert will allow PubMed to run your search as frequently as you want it to, and you will receive e-mail alerts when new articles become available that meet your search criteria. To create an alert, click on Create Alert at the top of the page (under the search bar).

Follow the prompts to determine the name of your saved search and frequency that you would like it to run. Make note of the e-mail address that the alert will be sent to.

Infinite looping GIF demonstrating how to create an alert in PubMed

Ask a Librarian

Live Chat

Chat with a librarian is available 9-5 Monday-Saturday.

You can also contact a librarian.

Call us:

1-888-820-0522 (toll free)


Or email us:

Provide Feedback on this Guide

Please follow the link below to complete a short survey and provide feedback on this guide.

Research Guide Satisfaction Survey