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PubMed: Filters

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:

What are PubMed's filters

  • You can filter your results so that your search results are limited to a more specific range of documents and topics.
  • Filter options appear to the left of your search results, click the box next to each one as relevant, in order to refine your search results.
  • You can select an article types filter to limit your results to clinical trials, legislation, meta-analysis, randomised controlled trials, reviews and systematic reviews.
  • CLick the additional filters button to find further options for limiting results by, for example, a specific specie, age group or sex . Using these options free you from having to identify all the the different search terms that are used to define a specific population group. Further article types are listed under 'additional filters'; for example, case reports, evaluation studies, (practice) guidelines, technical reports, validation studies and specific phases of trials.  To view all article type options, you may need to click the arrows keys on your keyboard. 

    Once you have selected your additional filter option(s), click SHOW so that your options appear alongside the main filter options to the left of your search results.  Finally, you need to click the box next to each option that you want to activate in order to refine your search results.

  • Note of caution! The next time you search PubMed, you may need to click 'Reset all filters' to clear the settings from your previous search.

Example of PubMed filters

PubMed filters.

Refining results to human-only studies

It is difficult to retrieve a set of search results that only relate to human-based studies. PubMed's species/human filter only identifies those results where 'human' has been applied as a MeSH heading so it only offers a partial solution. The following video provides a more rigorous method that but a degree of manual screening of your results will still be necessary: