Skip to main content

Clinical Leadership Program: Searching For Articles



PubMed is the key database in medicine. It contains articles on diseases, treatments, models of care, medical education, health reform, and other topics relevant to this course. To get the best results out of PubMed,

  1. Identify the key concepts in your topic.
  2. Search for them individually, checking the Details box on the results page after each search to ensure you've found a good subject heading (called a MeSH term) for each concept.
  3. If you were not automatically mapped to a good MeSH term, search the MeSH database for the best heading for your concept.
  4. Use the Advanced Search page to combine your searches (OR together synonyms, AND all topics that must be in your final results)
  5. Use Limits page to narrow by study type, language, etc.

Extensive help information, including short videos and PDFs are available on the Medical Center Library's PubMed Tutorial and Training page.

Specific Strategies for PubMed

Using MeSH (medical subject heading) terms can improve the relevance of your results. Here are some of the key terms for getting at different types of articles. AND in the appropriate terms with your topic to focus your search.

Health Ethics:

  • AND ethics in with other terms for your topic into the PubMed search box as a first approach.
  • Use Bioethics for general ethics questions, Clinical ethics for ethics involving the care of patients, and Institutional ethics for ethics involving the institution's role.
  • There are also specific terms for Clinical ethics committees and Ethics consultation which can be used when relevant.

Health Policy

  • The broader term Health policy includes the narrower Health care reform

Health Law

  • Use Legislation as topic for general articles on policy.
  • Some specific laws have their own terms, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Health IT

  • Use Biomedical technology for general articles on health IT
  • Some technologies have their own subject headings. Search the MeSH database to determine if a specific heading is available (ie, cellular phones)
  • Medical informatics, Nursing informatics, Public health informatics and Dental informatics are also available as terms.

Other Databases