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PubMed is a database containing scholarly articles in most of the medical and allied health-related fields such as biology, dentistry, nursing, physical therapy, psychology, and more. This database offers a lot of academic literature and provides multiple options for searching the database. The following tutorial will give step-by-step instruction on how to find those articles within the database that are full-text (entire article.) It is important to note that not every record within PubMed will lead to the entire article.
As of May 2012, PubMed has a little different search menu.
Step 1: Type your keywords within the search box and then click on the "Search" button. For this example, we are going to find full-text articles (entire article) about stem cells. We want PubMed to find any full-text article that contains the words stem and cells.
Step 2: Depending on your topic, PubMed will provide a LONG list of citations (title of article, author, title of journal, volume number, and page numbers).
PubMed allows you to "filter" or select options that will help provide more relevant articles. These "filters" or OPTIONS are located along the left side of the computer screen. For this example, PubMed found 168,195 articles about stem cells. We need to use the filters to narrow the search.
You NEED to select the "Free full text available" option in order to retrieve the entire article. You need to select the middle option. The "Full text available" option will produce articles with links to publishers who require you to PAY for the article.
You need to select "FREE FULL TEXT AVAILABLE" link.
Once you click on the "Free full text available" option, PubMed will reformat the screen and provide a list of articles that are free full-text, only.
You are able to narrow the search by publication date. This is up to you and what your teacher may want. Many teachers want the article to be no older than five years. For this example, we will click on "5 years." Once we click on "5 years", PubMed will reformat the screen and provide articles that are full-text and that are no older than "5 years."
PubMed is a very large database containing many scholarly RESEARCH articles. Most people will want to find articles relating to humans. Click on "Humans" and PubMed will provide articles involving humans, instead of animals.
"Article types" is up to you to choose. Usually, clinical trials will produce original scholarly research "studies." Meta-Analysis and Reviews can produce research "studies" but often Meta-Analysis and Reviews produce "reviews" of studies that are going on or have taken place in the past. They are more like scholarly reports. They ARE scholarly articles, but they may not be original research studies. If you click within the editorial box then PubMed will provide those articles that are editorials (commentaries).
PubMed is well-known INTERNATIONALLY. There are A LOT of articles published in the language of the country where the article originated. Most people will click on the ENGLISH link so that PubMed will provide journal articles that are in English. Be careful, the citations and abstracts may be in English, but the article may be in another language UNLESS you select the English filter/option.
After all that filtering, we have 2,312 scholarly journal articles that have something to do with stem cells. We could try another search using more keywords to narrow the search. However, we will scroll through some of the screens and see if anything looks like something we can use.
CLICK on the title of the article in order to find the free full-text (entire article).
We scrolled through several screens and decided to click on the title of entry number 87.
Step 8: After clicking on the title, you will see the record on the screen. Often, you see the abstract (summary of the article) that takes up most of the screen. The abstract can help you determine the content of the article as well as if the article is an original research study like seen in this example, or is a standard article, review, or editorial.
On the far upper right of the screen, you will see one OR two icons (buttons) that should mention something about "full-text."
One of the icons will present the FREE full-text of the article. You may need to click on both icons to see which one will produce the FREE full-text.
Step 9: You should see the full-text of the article appear on the screen. Usually, there is an option to select the PDF version of the article. The PDF will produce the actual scanned image of the article with charts, graphs, and pictures.