A Residents' Guide to PubMed Basics

Topic Search

Finding a few good good articles on a particular dental topic can be very easy.

State your question as specifically as possible:

  • Is acupuncture effective for the treatment of migraine headaches?

Identify the key words in your question:

  • acupuncture
  • migraine

Type the key words into the search box:

  • acupuncture AND migraine

PubMed searches for the keywords in the article title, abstract and subject headings. It does not search the full text of the article.

Results are returned with newest articles first in summary format. Click on the title for more information about a single article. Change the Display Settings to Abstract for more information about all the articles in the search results.



Go to a PubMed search for: acupuncture AND migraine

Author Name Search

Enter the author's name in the following format: Author's Last Name(space)1st initial2nd initial


  • No periods are necessary. Do not use commas.
  • Adding the second initial helps focus the search on a particular person, but may cause you to miss articles published by the author that do not include the middle name.
  • Full author names can be searched for articles published from 2002 forward.

Go to this search in PubMed: moons kg
Notice that the last (oldest) article retrieved was published in May 1997.

Go to this search in PubMed: Karel Moons
Notice that the last (oldest) article retrieved was published in March 2002.

Journal Name Search

To find all the articles in PubMed from a particular journal, select Advanced below the search box.

Advanced Search Link

On the PubMed Advanced Search Builder page:

  1. Select Journal from the drop-down options next to the Search Builder box.
  2. Start typing the journal name in the Search Builder box.
  3. Select the correct full journal name from the auto-complete list.
  4. With the correct full journal name inserted in the top search box, click the search button.


Go to the PubMed Advanced Search page.

Single Citation Matcher

To find a specific article when you know some of the publication information such as journal name, publication date, page numbers, author name, or title words, use the Single Citation Matcher form.

The link to Single Citation Matcher is on the opening PubMed page. It is the second item in the lower center section labeled PubMed Tools.

Link to Single Citation Tool

You only need to fill in a few data points.
Author Name and First Page often bring up a single result.

Go to the PubMed Single Citation Matcher

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