10 Tips for Navigating Peer-Reviewed Biomedical Literature

The Department of Medicine’s online newsletter, Vital Signs, recently highlighted effective ways to approach literature searching, something the staff at Ebling Library have assisted thousands of patrons with over the years. “Navigating the peer-reviewed literature is a key skill in academic medicine. Whether you’re new to using PubMed or have relied on it for years, there are many lesser-known techniques and resources that are helpful,” says Heidi Marleau, associate director, Ebling Library.

Author, Robyn Perrin, PhD, offers these 10 tips for optimizing your information gathering.:

1) Search logic matters.
2) You can create your own sharable collection of publications directly in PubMed.
3) PubMed’s Clinical Queries allows you to use clinically-relevant categories to navigate the literature.
4) Was your research funded by a federal agency? Use BuckySubmit to make your article publicly accessible—which is a compliance requirement.
5) Check out PubMed Special Queries for search interfaces tailored to specific topics.
6) Try this tutorial about searching for literature on drugs or chemicals in PubMed.
7) Power up your search strategy using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).
8) There’s a patient-friendly version of PubMed.
9) Citation manager software greatly reduces the time and effort of staying up-to-date with the literature and adding citations to manuscripts.
10) There’s a world of databases, training opportunities, and consultative help available in the Health Science Learning Center’s Ebling Library.

Read the full article for descriptions and links of each tip, and discover additional ways Ebling staff can help you in research, data management and discovery of suitable resources.

In summary: How we interact with the literature can affect the course of clinical practice, teaching, and research.

“Information literacy in the medical sciences is a lifelong skill – databases and search interfaces change continually. Staying aware of these changes can help you reduce frustration, save time, and often can help spark creative and literature-informed hypotheses,” says Marleau. Any questions? Please contact the Ask a Librarian service at Ebling Library