PubMed is a free database that anyone can search online.
However, Brandeis has a special link that adds the “Get It” button, which makes it easy to find full text articles from PubMed. You can also find this link on the library’s Databases A-Z list.
Hint: bookmark this URL in your browser so you don't have to go to the library website every time: https://guides.library.brandeis.edu/pubmed
Take a minute to think about what you’re hoping to find, and write down all of the words that come to mind when you think about your topic.
Choose 2-3 search terms to start with. Finding what you want will probably require some trial and error, so it helps to have some alternative search terms in mind.
Start with a simple search first, i.e. heart attack women of color. We’ll come back to the synonyms.
You will probably need to try a few combinations from your list to find what you’re looking for. If one term doesn’t come up in the results, try a synonym or related term.
PubMed has a built-in feature that maps your search terms to other related terms, so it’s more forgiving than a lot of databases. For example, searching for heart attack will also search for myocardial infarction (but not necessarily the other way around).
*Using advanced features like AND/OR, truncation (*), and phrase searching (“heart attack“) might turn off the mapping feature and give you very limited results. Try your without these first -- you can always add them if you think they might help.
How are your results sorted?
How relevant do the first several results seem?
How many results did you get?
How did PubMed map your search terms?
The checkboxes on the left side of the screen are called filters (or limiters), and they let you narrow down your search results. For example, you can filter by:
It’s most helpful to use these when you have a good number of results and they seem pretty relevant to what you’re looking for.
You can see more options by clicking on Additional Filters at the bottom of the filter column. (You'll also need to check off the filter to apply it to your search).
When you find one article that’s very relevant to your topic, use it to look for clues that might lead you to other articles.
What words are used in the title, abstract, and MeSH terms of the relevant paper? If you find a relevant word that you haven’t tried searching for yet, give it a try. There might be other papers on the topic that use the same words.
Look at the relevant paper's references to see which other papers it’s cited. Also, pay attention when the authors describe other studies in the introduction. If you come across a citation that you haven’t seen yet that seems relevant, see if you can track it down!
You can also look for newer papers that have cited your relevant paper (unless it was published too recently to have been cited).