Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Nursing - Information Literacy

Sample PubMed Search: Does handwashing among healthcare workers reduce hospital acquired infection?

PubMed Step by Step Details
  1. Access
Direct Link

      2.  Identify the main concepts in your research question to conduct a simple keyword search

Connect two or three concepts with AND:

Handwashing AND hospital acquired infection

       3. View your results and Revise your search

  • Expand with OR, to connect synonyms nested in parentheses for one or more of your search terms.
  • Re-execute your search
  • Narrow large results by adding additional terms with AND

View your results and notice how the most relevant citations are described using MeSH terms (Medical Subject Headings).

Conduct a broader search:

(handwashing OR hand hygiene OR hand disinfection) AND (cross infection OR hospital acquired infection)

       4. Filtering Results

On the left side menu in PubMed, these filtering options can limit your search results by:

  • Article type
  • Ages
  • Publication Date
  • Languages, etc.
       5. Accessing Full-Text If full-text is not available, request through InterLibraryLoan
      6. Saving Results

As you scroll through your results, mark the checkbox to the left of the citations to save.

  • Choose send to,  then select a destination: Clipboard, email, etc.
  • Clipboard items are saved only until you end the search session. Permanently save or export your results before you end the search session

More about saving/managing your search results can be found here

     7. Document your search strategy
  • Saving a search strategy keeps a records of what you have searched.
  • On the main page, you may choose send to for saving or email options
  • Set up a MY NCBI account to save searches, collections, create alerts, filters, and more!
8. Revising Results

Review Step 4

- If you have too many results, you need to narrow

- If you have too few results, you need to expand

- PubMed Advanced Search Display: Research Methodology Filters for clinicians:

Additional HELP!