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Phrase Searching

PubMed automatically searches for phrases during Automatic Term Mapping.

When you are having trouble finding good MeSH vocabulary for a concept, forcing a phrase search to identify records containing a phrase, and then exploring how they are indexed can be a useful search technique. But...

Do NOT use quotes until you first try your search without them.

If you determine that you want to force a phrase search, you can do so by:

  1. Enclosing the phrase in double quotes:
    "fecal transplant"

    Note: The absence of a search tag indicates the search should be conducted in All Fields.

  2. Entering the phrase with a search tag:
    robotic surgery [tw]

  3. Hyphenating:

  4. Truncating:
    citizen jur*
Search of fecal transplant in PubMed, without quotes, showing that the terms are separated into fecal AND transplant. Search of fecal transplant in PubMed, with quotes, showing that the terms are searched as a phrase.
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Last Reviewed: November 17, 2019