Module 0: PubMed Basics (Prerequisite for MeSH)

How Do I Filter My Search Results?

After conducting a topic or other type of search, PubMed will return a list of search results. For example, our search for blood pressure returned more than 650,000 results.

PubMed Search Results for blood pressure, with number of results highlighted

Filter Options

Use the filter options in the side panel to narrow your search results.

You can use filters for:

  • Results by Year – See the distribution of your results over a span of years and use the slider to limit to a range of years or select a specific year.
  • Text Availability – To filter your results to only citations that include a link to full text, a link to free full text, or an abstract, click the appropriate selections.
  • Article Attribute – Limits results to include citations with associated data only. View more information on associated data.
  • Article Type - Select article types to narrow results based on the type of material the article represents, such as Books and Documents, Clinical Trial, or Review.
  • Publication Date - To filter your results by Publication Date, click 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or enter a custom range. These filters include both electronic and print publication dates.

Note that visible filters may be different depending on your particular search, but you can find all available filters anytime under Additional Filters.

Screen shot of PubMed Filter options

Additional Filters

Clicking Additional Filters will pop-up a menu of more filter options, including:

  • Article Type – Provides more article types to filter by than are shown in the default filter sidebar, including Address, Letter, Interview or Webcast.
  • Species – Species selections restrict your results to human or animal studies. This filter limits your results to MEDLINE records.
  • Language – Language selections restrict your search to articles written in that language, such as Bulgarian, English, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish.
  • Sex – Sex restricts your search results to a specific sex for an animal or human study. This filter limits your results to MEDLINE records.
  • Age – Age restricts your search to age groups from birth to 80+. This filter limits your results to only MEDLINE records.
  • Other – Other includes a MEDLINE filter to restrict your results to citations indexed for MEDLINE only and an option to exclude preprints. For more information about preprints, visit the NIH Preprint Pilot .
Screen shot of Additional Filters pop-up screen with more options

For our blood pressure topic search, we’ve used the filters and the “results by year” graph to limit our search results to show only free full text and articles published in the past five years.

Blood pressure search results with a filter alert circled saying <em>Filters applied: Free full text, in the last five years. Clear all</em>

Additional Training

For more information and practice for searching by topic in PubMed, take the PubMed: Find Articles on a Topic quick tour.