PubMed Search Optimization Laboratory Exploration | Health Informatics Lesson

Objective: To understand the difference in efficiency and effectiveness of research article searches with and without using advanced PubMed search strategies.


Task 1: Basic Search Vs Advanced Search

  1. Navigate to the PubMed website.
  2. In the search bar, type “physical therapy AND stroke”. Note the number of results.
  3. Now, click on “Advanced” under the search bar.
  4. In the “Builder” section, set the first dropdown menu to “Title”, enter “physical therapy” in the box, and click “Add to History”.
  5. Again in the “Builder” section, set the dropdown menu to “Title”, enter “stroke”, and click “Add to History”.
  6. Click “Search #1 AND #2” to execute the advanced search. Note the number of results.
  7. Reflect on the difference in the number of search results between the basic search and the advanced search.

Task 2: Search Without MeSH Terms Vs With MeSH Terms

  1. From the PubMed homepage, type “rotator cuff injuries” in the search bar and note the number of results.
  2. Now, click on “MeSH Database” under the “More Resources” dropdown menu.
  3. Enter “rotator cuff injuries” in the search bar and click “Search”.
  4. From the returned MeSH terms, select “Rotator Cuff Injuries” by clicking on it.
  5. Click on the “Add to search builder” button, then click “Search PubMed” to conduct a search using this MeSH term.
  6. Note the number of results and compare with the previous search. Reflect on the difference.

Task 3: Search Without Filters Vs With Filters

  1. Conduct a basic search for “neurorehabilitation” on the PubMed homepage. Note the number of results.
  2. On the results page, use the sidebar filters. Click on “Free Full Text” under “Text Availability”, and “English” under “Languages”.
  3. Note the change in the number of results. Reflect on the benefits of using filters to refine your search results.

Task 4: Basic Search Vs Clinical Queries

  1. Conduct a basic search for “exercise therapy in osteoarthritis” on the PubMed homepage. Note the number of results.
  2. Now, from the PubMed homepage, click on “Clinical Queries” under “More Resources”.
  3. In the search box, enter “exercise therapy in osteoarthritis”.
  4. Ensure “Therapy” is selected and click “Search”. Note the number of systematic reviews found.
  5. Reflect on the difference in the number of results and the type of results found using the basic search versus the Clinical Queries tool.

Task 5: Search Without Using My NCBI Vs With My NCBI

  1. Perform a basic search for “spinal cord injuries”. Note down a few articles that seem interesting.
  2. Close your browser and re-open PubMed. Try to find those articles again. Reflect on the difficulty or ease of this process.
  3. Now, register for a My NCBI account by clicking on “Sign in to NCBI” on the top right corner of the PubMed homepage.
  4. Once registered, perform the same search for “spinal cord injuries” and save this search to your My NCBI account.
  5. Also, select a few interesting articles and send them to your My Bibliography.
  6. Log out and then log back into your My NCBI account. Navigate to your saved search and your bibliography. Reflect on the convenience of using My NCBI for saving searches and specific articles.

Task 6: Finding Citations Without Citation Matcher Vs With Citation Matcher

  1. Try to find a specific article by searching with this partial citation information: Journal – “Physical Therapy”, Year – “2022”, Volume – “102”, First page – “1”. Note how long it takes and whether you are successful.
  2. Now, go to PubMed’s homepage and click on “Single Citation Matcher” under “More Resources”.
  3. Fill in the given citation details and click “Search”. Note how quickly you are able to find the citation.
  4. Reflect on the difference in using the Single Citation Matcher versus a basic search to find a specific article.

Follow-up Questions:

  1. How did your search results differ when using basic search strategies versus advanced strategies?
  2. Which strategies were most helpful for finding the most relevant articles more quickly?
  3. How can these PubMed features help streamline your research process in the future?

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2 thoughts on “PubMed Search Optimization Laboratory Exploration | Health Informatics Lesson

  1. Task 1: Basic Search VS Advanced Search

    •Strokes have a reputation for being fatal on a physical, mental, and emotional level. We learned at school that stroke is the fourth most common cause of long-term impairment in the United States, affecting about 795,000 people annually. Physical therapy can assist to lessen symptoms and enhance quality of life, despite the fact that recovering from a stroke can be challenging. In order to learn more quickly as students and aspiring physical therapists, we study and learn about ailments like stroke in books and online. One of the trustworthy sources for biomedical literature is PubMed. With so many results, it takes a while to sort through them in PubMed’s basic search box, where we may get 17,780 hits for “physical therapy and stroke.”Opening these articles and reading them all individually takes a lot of time with this many results. However, PubMed also features a sophisticated search tool that allows users to narrow their search to a particular area of interest and returns unique results. There is a big difference between the basic and advanced search bars, as I discovered while using the advanced search bar, which returned 112 items.

    Task #2. Search Without MeSH Vs With MeSH Terms
    •Instead of only looking up word locations in the abstract’s text, MeSH is helpful for meaning searches. the distinction between looking for “rotator cuff injuries” without using MeSH and utilizing MeSH. When using MeSH terms, the search is refined with subheadings and you can select specific MeSH terms to be tagged as the primary topic of references retrieved, which is why it returns 7617 results in the basic search bar rather than the 9616 results it would have otherwise returned. When performing research, it is best to use the MeSH database’s PubMed search function to find all of the relevant articles.

    Task #3. Search without filters Vs With Filters
    •Without any filters, a PubMed search for information on neurorehabilitation returns 48877 items; however, when filters are applied, only 20088 results are returned. It’s very helpful to utilize filters when searching because they provide you a reasonable amount of facts based on your topic or category. Because the results only include the information you’re interested in or that is specifically linked to your issue, filtering is far more practical. And because you no longer have to separate the material into what you truly need and what you don’t, filtering might save you a ton of time when doing research.

    Task 4: Basic Search VS Clinical Queries
    •Clinicians now have easy access to customized PubMed searches that quickly link them to clinical literature that is supported by scientific evidence thanks to PubMed Clinical Queries. When seeking for information on “exercise therapy in osteoarthritis,” there is a difference between utilizing basic search and clinical queries: the former yields 4152 results, but the latter yields only 2405. Due to the distinctions, the PubMed searches function is efficient since it concentrates on results that are supported by evidence. And this can be quite helpful for researchers, especially those who need evidence-based findings for their study question. It also enables you to restrict search results to particular subcategories of clinical research.

    Task 5: Search Without Using NCBI vs With My NCBI
    •Given that NCBI may store the links to the pages you recently saw and saved, by utilizing an NCBI account to search for data and information is more practical and advantageous. Because they must cite or reference sources at the end of their research articles, researchers might benefit from this feature. In particular, if they forget to save their references while conducting their research, this function makes sure that researchers include all of their references. I therefore come to the conclusion that having an NCBI account is advantageous, practical, and perfect.

    Follow-up questions:
    1. •Because sophisticated search tactics only concentrate on a single component of the subject that I’m looking for, they may save you a great deal of time and work.

    2.I would rather advanced search because it actually minimizes outcomes for the objective at hand, and it is the most practical for me because it offers tools for finding sources based on scant information (when searching for a specific source’s descriptions, journalist, etc.).

    3.•Given that they narrow down the amount of information to only that which is pertinent to them, these qualities are tremendously helpful to researchers and individuals in general. Clinical trials, entire texts, and even publication dates may all be searched using the incredibly user-friendly search feature, which also offers a variety of filtering choices. The search feature also offers data and related queries. When an article is selected, records for related articles are also added. These PubMed features will be very helpful to me as a medical student and aspiring physical therapist when I perform my research projects and create treatment plans for instances, ailments, or conditions.

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