Finding the Journal Article of Your Dreams

Find your match with these easy steps:

1. Establish your research question.

- Research Question: - Example: Currently, what is the best antimicrobial treatment for diabetic foot infections?

3. Create your term/concept harvesting table based on your research question.

- Each term/concept should help focus the literature search on the topic of interest - What to include in a concept/term column: - Synonyms and related forms - Different spellings of the term/concept (ex. British vs. American spelling) - Singular and plural forms - Generic and brand drug names - Wildcards: truncated words that find all instances of the root word (add an asterisk (*) to the end of the truncated word) (Example: adolescen* retrieves adolescent, adolescents, or adolescence) - Example: Remember: Use AND to indicate all the different search terms you want to include in your search and OR to broaden your search when searching with similar terms or synonyms.

4. Search all terms/concepts in the advanced search builder of your database of interest.

- Search each term separately in the database search builder, then combine the individual searches afterwards. - can visualize how your search becomes more focused - There should be fewer results than searching each term/concept individually.

5. Evaluate search results and modify the search strategy.

- Evaluation: - Read through the titles, abstracts and keywords to determine if your search needs to be modified - Reasons for modifications: - Results are not relevant to your research question - New terms are discovered during your initial database searches

6. Apply limits to your search results.

- Last step in the literature search process. If it is applied too early, you may miss relevant search results. - Limits examples: - Publication dates - Article types - Species

2. Determine the MeSH terms and databases of interest.

- MeSH (Medical Subject Heading): A vocabulary thesaurus used by the National Library of Medicine for indexing articles for the MEDLINE and PubMed databases. - MeSH term: Describes the content of an article (example: amputation*, humans, diabetes mellitus, type 2) - Performing a baseline search (ie. no synonyms, just a sentence describing your topic) can be used to find MeSH terms by clicking the"Publication type, Mesh terms, Grant Support" drop down menu. - Can be searched for using the PubMed Drop down menu - Database of interest: - Choose a database that best fits your researhc interests - Ex. Biosis = animal journal articles, PubMed = medical science journal articles




After you find a useful article, look at the reference list to find other applicable articles.

Use multiple databases

Do not just use PUBMED, try and use other databases as well such as Google Scholar (check validity of article) and BIOSIS.


Download the article PDFs and organize them into folders based on your topic of interest. Mendeley is useful in this respect.

Actively read

Reading actively and thinking critically while reading potential articles will cut down on the time needed to find suitable articles.

Tips and Tricks

Video Tutorial: