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Searching the Literature for Clinical Evidence: Start here


As a medical student and future physician, you will be required to make decisions regarding patient care. You will need to consult the medical literature to help you make a decision about the best course of treatment.

Browse modules 1-3 to reacquaint yourself with the basic search skills we showed you last year.  Complete module 4 to learn how to easily identify clinical studies using PubMed's Clinical Queries.

Two different clinical cases are used throughout this tutorial to teach you how to conduct an effective literature search:

  • We demonstrate using the case about Harriet
  • You apply what you learn using the case about Lisa

Tutorial overview

Start here:

  1. Watch the Meet Your Library Team video
  2. Read the Case about Lisa

Within each of the four modules, you MUST complete all the steps.

Module 1: Searching

  1. Read about PICO. learn
  2. Do exercise 1: PICO elements. exercise
  3. Do exercise 2: Formulating a question. exercise
  4. Watch the video about searching PubMed with MeSH. learn
  5. Do exercise 3: Conduct the search yourself using the case about Lisa.

Module 2: Finding

  1. Watch the video about refining search results with Filters.
  2. Do exercise 4: Refine your search results

Module 3: Evaluating

  1. Watch the video about peer reviewed journals.
  2. Watch the video about evaluating abstracts.
  3. Review the appraisal checklists.
  4. Do exercise 5: Evaluating abstracts and identifying relevant articles from your search results.

Module 4: Clinical Queries

  1. Read about PubMed's Clinical Queries. 
  2. Watch the video about searching with Clinical Queries. 
  3. Do exercise 6: Search with Clinical Queries

Meet Your Library Team

Your Case

YOUR CASE: Lisa is an obese 52-year-old woman, who has been trying for several years to lose weight unsuccessfully. She tells you about friend of hers that was prescribed VictozaTM a few months ago, and has lost 20 lbs. She asks “Is VictozaTM right for me?”

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