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Searching in PubMed (MedLine) for Classical Articles, Qualitative, Quantitative, and Review Articles

PubMed:  (Publicly accessible - but some full text is UW Restricted). The National Library of Medicine's search service to over 26 million citations in Medline and related databases. Truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). (Search tips for this database). The National Library of Medicine also provides the PubMed for Nurses video tutorials, and the PubMed tutorials and quick tours online.

PubMed Guides and Tutorials:

  • BNURS 501: PubMed activity in Canvas. Your PubMed assignment from BNURS 501 applies to this course! It contains how to information such as getting to PubMed, searching, MeSH Terms, filtering, locating the full text of articles, Interlibrary Loan, My NCBI, citing tips, and more.

If you are off-campus and want to access the UW Restricted full text in PubMed, click on the PubMed link above and you should be prompted to login with you UW NetID and password.

To Search for Research Articles in PubMed:

1. Type your search into the search box(es). Examples: "registered nurse" "job satisfaction"
                                                                                      improve nurs* job satisfaction retention

If needed, you can add the word classical article, qualitative, or quantitative to your search. (Optional -- refer to the UW HSL guide for "Finding Qualitative Research Articles")
            Examples:   -- diabetes education classical article
                               -- native americans diabetes qualitative
                               -- aged female chronic pain quantitative

Search for qualitative articles with MeSH Terms, by adding them to your search words:

  • There is no "qualitative" publication type in PubMed, but according the UW HSL Finding Qualitative Research Articles: PubMed page you can type in or search by the following MeSH Terms: Qualitative Research; Interviews as Topic; Focus Groups; Nursing Methodology Research; Anecdotes as Topic; Narration; Video Recording; Tape Recording; Personal Narratives as Topic; and Observational Study as Topic.

2. (Optional) Try locating a couple Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) that are relevant to your search topic that you can use.

  • You can select a new search strategy from this list of MeSH terms to do a more focused search. Copy and paste them into a list for you to refer to.
  • Recent articles may not have publication types or MeSH terms assigned yet.


  • MeSH On Demand tool – copy and paste in your research question/draft literature review topic and it will suggest MeSH terms, and link to articles (PubMed ID links = PMID). It takes a minute for it to process your request. Some articles will be available online, and others will not.
    • This tool is outside of the UW system, so you will have to bring the article titles, or PubMed IDs, back into the UW system to see what full text we have available. You can search by article title in the UW Libraries Search system, or by using this PubMed link. You can search by PMID in the box on the Nursing Research Guide: Finding Articles page.
  • MeSH Database – search for one concept at a time
    • The MeSH Database is also linked in PubMed on the advanced search page (click on the More Resources option to see it), and on the PubMed home page.

Tutorials about MeSH (Optional):


3. (Optional) After you have completed a search, use the PubMed Filters, located on the left side of your search results page. They include Article types, Text availability, Publication dates, Species, Languages, Sex, Subjects, Journal categories, Ages, and Search fields.

  • When filters are selected a “Filters activated” message will display on the results page.
  • Once you select a filter, it stays on until you turn it off, or you start a new search session on another day. To turn off filters, click either the “Clear all” link to remove all the filters, the “clear” link next to a filter category to clear the selections within that category, or the individual filter.

How to filter by Publication Date

  1. Look for the Filters links are located on your search results page, on the left side. PubMed Date Filter
  1. Under “Publication dates,” click on the "5 years" link (as illustrated above).
  2. You can also select "Custom range…" to type in the years, months and dates of your choosing.

How to filter to a Review and other types of articles

  1. There are two options for Review articles on your search results page.
  2. The most convenient option, if available, is on the right side of the page. Look for the “Filter your results:” area, and the Review link.
    Click on the Review link to view the results. PubMed Review Filter
  1. The second option is located on the left side of the page, on your Look for the "Article types" header, and then click on the Review link option to view the results.
  2. You can limit to other article types by clicking the "Customize" link under the "Article types" header, scroll through the list and select the types you want, and then and click on the "Show" button.
    • Below is a list of potentially relevant article types:
      1. Classical Article -- also known as a seminal article.
      2. Quantitative article types: Clinical Trial, Controlled Clinical Trial, Multicenter Study, Pragmatic Clinical Trial, Randomized Controlled Trial, and Validation Study,
      3. Review article types: Meta-Analysis, Review, and Systematic Review

For more information on article types/publication types see the publication characteristics (publication types) - scope notes page (from the National Library of Medicine).

(Optional) Another PubMed tool that students like:

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