Collected on this page are various resources that can assist you in doing research and properly navigating the extensive resources available.

Define your topic or question

  • As much as possible, clearly define your question
  • Consider utilizing PICO for medical questions –
    • P – Patient/Population or Problem
    • I – Intervention (often treatment, diagnostic test, or procedure)
    • C – Comparison (Is there a control group or another intervention to consider?)
    • O – Outcome

Develop a search strategy

  • Think in terms of keywords and search them separately
  • Think of synonyms for your keywords
  • Consider using truncation to pick up variations in words (in PubMed, pharm* to pick up pharmacology, pharmaceutical, pharmacy, etc.)
  • Consider using controlled vocabulary (terms attached to articles by indexers, generally in the “subject” tag, or MeSH – Medical Subject Headings
  • Then combine your keyword results and your subject heading results
  • Remember Boolean search operators:

AND means both terms must be present (this will narrow your search)
OR means either term as well as both terms are present (this will broaden your search)
NOT means one term must not be present


Too many results? Narrow by “AND -ING” more terms together or only using subject heading terms.  You can also narrow by year or language.

  • Too few results? Broaden search by “OR –ING” all possible synonyms and subject headings
  • Utilize “Similar articles” or “Find similar results” features when you identify one good article. Also remember to check references of that one good article – this can lead to more!