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PubMed: Combining searches

Use this guide to help you search PubMed more effectively and to find out how to manage your search results. After reading this introductory page, click each heading in the following row of tabs:

Combining searches

Why combine results? You might, for example, want to limit your search to finding articles on a particular topic that have been published in a specific journal e.g. ‘asthma’ in the journal ‘Lancet’.  You could do this by running two separate searches; the first searching for ‘asthma’ and the second searching for the ‘Lancet’ (changing the search setting from 'all fields' to 'journal'). Finally, you would need to combine the two sets of results so that you retrieved only those results that appeared in both sets.  

How to combine results:

  • Go to the Advanced Search screen.
  • View the History and Search Details section below the search and query boxes.  This section lists your most recent PubMed searches.   You will see that each search is allocated a number e.g. #1, #2.
  • For each set of results that you wish to combine, click the 'action' icon (three dots). Then select either of these:
    Add with AND: narrows down your search results so that each individual result appears relates to both searches that you're combining e.g. asthma AND Lancet.
    Add with OR: select this if you want a list of all your search results from across multiple searches (and not just those results that overlap between individual searches). 
  • The searches will appear in the 'query box' above.  When you have added all of the searches you wish to combine, click the Search button to get your combined set of results.  


To view the results of a previous search: click the number of results displayed next to the relevant listed search.

You could also combines sets of search results where each set relates to a different theme/concept e.g. asthma AND drugs.