Skip to main content

Medical Students: Journals & Databases

Resources for students in the College of Medicine

Literature Databases

Database Search Tips

Use boolean operators (AND, OR) to broaden your search.

  • e.g., (bronchiolitis OR "respiratory syncytial virus") AND nebuli* hyptertonic saline AND ("hospital stay" OR "length of stay")

Use subject headings (e.g., PubMed MeSH terms) to search by subject, or to brainstorm synonyms to add to your search.

  • e.g., In PubMed, click on "MeSH terms" below a relevant abstract and add those terms to your search strategy.

Use truncation (*) to search alternate endings.

  • e.g., nebuli* will retrieve articles with nebulizer, nebulizers, nebulized, nebuliser, nebulisers, etc.

Use quotes to search as a phrase.

  • e.g., "hospital stay" rather than hospital stay will retrieve articles with that exact phrase.

Search all MUSC Library’s journals.

Best Study Design for Your Question

The type of question is important and can help lead you to the best study design. To limit your search to a specific study design, use the database's filters/limits or add keywords to your search (e.g., lung cancer AND cohort).

Type of Question  Best Type of Study
   Therapy RCT -> cohort -> case control -> case series
   Diagnosis                 prospective, blind comparison to a gold standard  
   Etiology/Harm RCT -> cohort -> case control -> case series
   Prognosis Cohort study -> case control -> case series
   Prevention RCT -> cohort study -> case control -> case series

PubMed: Clinical Queries