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PubMed - Beyond the Basics

Build a Strategy Using the Advanced Search Builder

The PubMed Advanced Search Builder can be used to construct a precise search strategy. If you want to use a combination of MeSH terms and keywords, have the MeSH Database open in an adjoining tab so you can search for MeSH terms as you go.

There are three steps to building an effective search strategy using the PubMed Advanced Search Builder:

  1. search one concept at a time, specifying fields, e.g. Title/Abstract, or subject headings, e.g. MeSH Major Topic, from the menu
  2. add each completed concept to History using the Add to History link, one after another
  3. use the Builder to combine the completed concepts from History, using the Add link
Use a new line for each part of each concept.
You can use the Edit link to check that PubMed is interpreting your search as you intend it, and edit it if you see a problem. Always check that your ANDs and ORs are correct before adding your concept to History.
Once you have added the Builder search to History, you can no longer edit it. It is easier and quicker to just re-do that concept than to try to edit at a later stage
PubMed can add brackets in a seemingly random way (see the very ugly interpretation in the Stroke search in the demo video above). Unless you want to edit the search, you can leave these as they are.