What is PubMed?

PubMed is a database of citations and abstracts that summarize primary and review articles from select journals as well as some books and other documents. For instructions on accessing the full text of an article summarized in PubMed, see below.

Tips for using PubMed:

Full Text - To access the full text of an article in PubMed, check the Trexler Library catalog by Journal Title. The Trexler Library website contains more detailed instructions.

Limits - After typing in your search terms activate limits by clicking on the "Limits" link at the top of the page. You can limit your search by publication date, type of article, species, sex, or age. Check off the limits you want to apply to your search then click on "search." You will notice the limits you chose listed at the top of the page as long as they are in place.

Subject Terms- Each article in PubMed is assigned medical subject terms (MeSH terms) that describe the important concepts or themes in the article. If you find an article in PubMed that fits your topic, click on the plus sign next to MeSH Terms under the abstract of the article . Someone has read this article and decided that these MeSH Terms describe the major themes in the article. If you see a relevant MeSH term, click on that term. You can either add it to your search or search PubMed using only that term.

Review Articles - You may find it helpful to look at review articles to get an overview of research in a particular field. Like primary articles, review articles are published in scholarly journals and are often peer-reviewed. However, a review article provides a summary of several studies others have done, a historical overview of a topic, or a compilation of recent developments rather than reporting results of research or experiments completed by the author(s) writing the article.

Other Databases - There are many other databases that may also contain relevant primary articles on topics within the molecular life sciences. For other databases providing articles or article abstracts in Biology try the Trexler Library Biology Subject Guide.

Peer-Reviewed Journals - To check if a journal is peer-reviewed, type the journal title (not the article title) into UlrichsWeb Periodicals Directory. Peer-reviewed journals will have a small referee's jersey next to the title (or click on the journal title and the record will say refereed - yes or no). Refereed is another word for peer-reviewed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

My assignment asks for only primary sources, what does this mean?
In the sciences primary sources are original articles or other texts describing a researcher's new experimental data, results, and/or theories. These primary articles usually contain a method and results section. However, some review articles (which are not primary sources) also contain these sections, so the reader should always review the article's content to assess. A review article assesses or summarizes other articles, but it does not describe a new experiment or new results.

How do I get the full text of an article?
Check the Trexler Library's catalog to see if we have access to a journal, or check the library's website for more detailed instructions.

How can I become familiar with the scientific jargon which can be unique to each subfield?
Try typing terms into Credo Reference which contains several scientific dictionaries and encyclopedias.

How do I cite to cite these articles in my paper? 
Make sure to review any specific information that your professor has provided.  You can also review citation guides on the Trexler Library website.

I want to find an article from the reference section of another article, but I have very limited information. How can I find this article?
To find an article abstract with limited bibliographic information, try using PubMed's Citation Matcher.  To find the full text of an article once you have the journal name, author, title, and date, check the Trexler Library website for information.

Additional FAQ and tutorials are provided on the PubMed website.