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Clinical Essentials: Training

Learn advanced library research skills


Search Strategy

Formulate a search statement for clinical questions


PubMed Search

Use the PubMed @ UC San Diego database to search for research literature in Medicine and Health Sciences.

We highlight PubMed features in this guide. For comprehensive training, we recommend the following instruction provided by the National Library of Medicine:



Filter results to focus your search


More details 


MeSH Terms

Additionally, MeSH terms summarize and identify topics in an article.

They are helpful for retrieving information in PubMed when different terms are used for the same concept or topic.

More details 


To find the right MeSH term, search the MeSH Database.


Focus On Clinical Literature

The PubMed Clinical Queries tool targets your search on the diagnosis, etiology, therapy, and prognosis of diseases.

Select the appropriate filter for your clinical study category.

Choose a scope:

  • broad for a sensitive search with more results, or
  • narrow for a more precise search

There are additional filters for systematic reviews and topics in medical genetics.



Email Updates

Save your search strategy and set up an automatic email update


More details →



Personalize your experience with a My NCBI account



Use the CINAHL database to search for research literature in Nursing and Allied Health fields.






Basic CINAHL Searching

Learn the right way to do it


CINAHL Headings

Get better results


Setting Limits

Narrow your focus


Create an Account

Never lose track of an article again



Set Search Alerts

Get notified when new articles are published


Get to the Article

Click the UC-eLinks button in database search results to get to the full-text article.



Most databases give publication details only – not the full online text of the work.

UC-eLinks will find the full-text publication in electronic or print format at the Library. It will also help you request items not owned by the Library.



Forward Reference Search

Use a forward reference search to find more recent publications that cite an older article.

For example, you have an article from January 2000. A forward reference search will find papers published after January 2000 that cite the initial article.



This search helps you:

  • find newer findings on the topic
  • find related and more specific research
  • find follow-up studies


How to

  1. Search for the paper in an article database.
  2. In its record, click the Cited by or Times Cited link.



Connect from Off-Campus

Set up a UCSD VPN connection to access the online library when you're off campus.

The VPN is a virtual private network connection to the UC San Diego network.





  1. Open the VPN client. (There is a one-time software installation.)
  2. Connect to UCSD VPN.
  3. Visit the library resource.
  4. When you're done, disconnect the VPN.