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PubMed (English): Step 6 - Filters & Clinical queries

Step 5 - Using filters and/or clinical queries

Fine-tuning your end result by using filters and/or clinical queries.

Types of studies

Systematic review:
= comparison of all studies on a certain subject
= systematic state of the art review of medical/scientific research

= systematic review using statistic methods to combine different researches 

= research that compares the effect of an intervention on a patient group with a control group (without intervention)
    Patients are assigned to both groups randomised (at random)

= Research being done on certain groups without a specific disorder to see if a certain disorder develops based on certain characteristics

= A description of what can be done to improve the quality of care and build a bridge between theory and practice


In the screen with your search results you will find PubMed filters on the left (red frame). Except for the filter 'Publication date' it is better not to use the other filters, you run the risk that the most recent articles will disappear from your search results.

Instead you can use the filters developed by Zuyd Library (green frame), they don't have that disadvantage. To be able to use these filters you need to access PubMed via the library website.


Clinical queries

You can add PICO with the M of method : meaning the type of study.
By using clinical queries you will add methodological search terms to your search results. Which one depends on the category you choose. The choice of category depends on the perspective of your clinical question.

How to use them?

  • First go to your search history
  • Remember the number of your last search result (i.e. after combining the PICO elements/building blocks)
  • Return to the homepage via the logo  at the top of the screen
  • Go to 'Clinical queries'


  • Type the number of the search strategy with an # in the Clinical Queries search bar 
  • Click 'Search'
  • Choose 'Category' and 'Scope'

You can choose from 5 categories:

  • therapy                                                             (systematic review, meta-analysis, RCT)
  • diagnosis          = method/test                          (sensitivity, specificity, systematic review)
  • prognosis                                                          (cohort, systematic review)
  • etiology             = causes disorder                    (cohort, systematic review)
  • clinical prediction guides

You will mostly use the "therapy" category. This field is suitable if you have a clinical question concerning a treatment of a certain complaint or illness. Comparative evidence between one or another treatment is also considered. Evidence is mostly found in RCT's.

With 'Scope' you choose between:

  • broad = sensitive = more results, less relevant (noise)
  • narrow = specific = less results, probably more relevant

therapy + broad  = RCT’s + clinical trials
therapy + narrow = RCT’s | Disclaimer | Over Zuyd Bibliotheek