PubMed Tip of the Month: Searching for Methods

There are several techniques that can help you find methodology articles in PubMed:

  • MeSH Headings for Methodology: “Methods” and “Research Design” are MeSH headings. You can try combining these terms with MeSH headings or keywords for your topic.
  • MeSH Headings for Particular Technique(s): Depending on your area of research, there may be a specific MeSH term for the category of techniques in which you are interested, e.g. “Cell Culture Techniques”.
  • Subheadings: Subheadings are used in conjunction with MeSH terms to further describe a particular aspect of that term. Subheadings follow a MeSH term, e.g. “Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods”[MeSH].  Subheadings can also be free-floated in a search, e.g. “DNA Replication”[MeSH] AND “Methods”[Subheading]. Two useful subheadings for methodology searches are “Isolation and Purification” and “Methods” (yes, Methods is both a heading and subheading).
  • Search Particular Journal(s): You may wish to narrow your search to one or more journals devoted to methodology. To do so, open the Advanced Search Builder by clicking the Advanced link below the PubMed search box. Select Journal from the dropdown menu and start typing the title of the journal in the adjacent search box. Choose the journal from the list of titles that appear. Enter a search term in the next search box to search the journal for articles on a specific topic, e.g. “Methods in molecular biology”[Journal] AND CRISPR.

PubMed Journal Search