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Evidence Based Medicine

This guide is designed to assist health care professionals and students become effective and efficient users of the medical literature.

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Clinical Search Filters

A method for improving the retrieval of high quality studies applicable to clinical practice is to include search terms that select studies at advanced stages of testing for clinical application. Including one, or a combination of these terms, in a MEDLINE search strategy will selectively retrieve evidence-based literature that is more likely to answer clinical questions.

Clinical Queries

PubMed is the National Library of Medicine's platform for searching MEDLINE.

PubMed has a special search feature called Clinical Queries. 

Within Clinical Queries, 5 clinical study category filters are available

  • Therapy
  • Clinical Prediction Guides
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis

Clinical Queries also allows you to choose a broad or narrow scope depending on your search needs.

For details about the Clinical Queries filters, see:

Similar Articles in PubMed

PubMed also generates a list of Similar Articles for citations in the database. 

When you are looking at a single article record in PubMed, simply scroll down below the abstract to see the Similar Articles.

For more information about how PubMed generates this list, see:

Try Adding These Terms To Your Searches

Therapy Problems

  • The best single term strategy is Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]


Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Text Word [tw]

Double Blind Method [MeSH]

Treatment Outcome [MeSH]

Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]

Controlled Clinical Trial [pt]

Clinical Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Multicenter Study [pt]

Therapy [sh]

Placebo* [tw]

Random* [tw]

Diagnosis Problems

  • The single best search term is Sensitivity and Specificity [MeSH]


Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Sensitivity and Specificity [MeSH]

Comparative Study [MeSH]

Differential Diagnosis [MeSH]

False Negative Reactions [MeSH]

False Positive Reactions [MeSH]

Predictive Value of Tests [MeSH]

Clinical Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Diagnosis [sh]

Prognosis Problems


Title or Abstract Word [tiab]

Text Word

Cohort Studies [MeSH]

Disease Progression [MeSH]                  

Morbidity [MeSH]

Mortality [MeSH]

Prognosis [MeSH]

Survival Analysis [MeSH]

Course [tiab]


Etiology Problems


Publication Type [pt]

Subheading [sh]

Text Word [tw]

Case-Control Studies [MeSH]

Causality [MeSH]

Cohort Studies [MeSH]

Comparative Study [MeSH]

Follow-up Studies [MeSH]

Risk [MeSH]

Longitudinal Studies [MeSH]

Randomized Controlled Trial [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Etiology [sh]

Odds [tw] AND Ratio* [tw]

Risk [tw]

Questions of Harm

MeSH [MeSH] Publication Type [pt] Subheading [sh] Text Word [tw]

Risk [MeSH]

Consensus Development Conference [pt]

Consensus Development conference, NIH [pt]

Guideline [pt]

Practice Guideline [pt]

Meta-Analysis [pt]

Adverse Effects [sh]

Toxicity [sh]

Risk [tw]



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