Skip to Main Content

Biological Sciences: Summer Research Institute (SRI): PubMed Tutorial

A guide for how to find experimental protocols and troubleshoot them.

Do a Simple Search in PubMed

PubMed is the National Library of Medicine's public service for searching the MEDLINE database and other biology literature. It is one of the most up to date, comprehensive, and powerful ways for finding life science and biomedical scholarly literature.

To start, go to PubMed and try doing a simple search for "development visual cortical neurons" as shown below.


Things to note from this example: 

  • You can click on the Sort by dropdown menu to choose Best Match to bring the most relevant articles to the top.
  • Click on Similar Articles to find other relevant articles on your search topic.
  • You can tell if an article is a review by looking for the Review label beneath the title.
  • Search phrases can just include the key words. You don't need to use words like "in" or "of" or "the." Search terms should be simple but specific.
  • If you find a good article, put the author's name in the search bar to see what other articles they have published.

Short Interactive PubMed Tutorial

Try a 2 minute interactive tutorial on doing basic searches in PubMed.

Learn how to find a specific article in PubMed with this 2 minute interactive tutorial.

Use PubMed Filters to Narrow Your Search

Use Filters in PubMed to narrow a search by particular attribute like article type or publication year.  Watch the following video to learn more (note that the video is 2 minutes in length and will automatically jump into another video after it finishes).


Locating the Full-Text of an Article

A lot of articles from recent years are publicly available on PubMed. If the article is publicly available, it will say Free PMC Article underneath the title. If the article is not publicly available, you will probably still be able to access it through CMU's journal subscriptions. Simply click on the title of the article and look for the full text links on the left side of the screen. In this case, you would click on the Watch Article at Jove link to access the content.

Note: If you are off campus, you will need to login to the VPN to access full-text and PDFs for non-publicly available articles. Follow the instructions here. Email if you are still having issues accessing articles.