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Finding Research Instruments

What is PubMed?

PubMed is the major international database of medicine and other health science-related disciplines.

Important Definitions

Database

  • searchable research tool that includes records about a wide range of sources, primarily articles

Record

  • collection of information about a single item, usually an article, within a database; includes several fields

Field

  • section of a record that provides a specific piece of information about the item described (the title, the author, the abstract, etc.)

Truncation (*)

  • the star or asterisk key tells the database to look for any ending of a word; one example: searching for measure* in a database would find the words measure, measures, and measurement

Should I Search PubMed for Instruments?

PubMed is probably not the best place to search for instruments. The records in PubMed aren't designed ot highlight the names of these tools, the database is extremely large, and the search techniques can be challenging. That said, you can look over the suggestions below should you decide you'd like to try.

Searching By Topic

The size of the PubMed database makes it a challenge to search for research instruments by topic. Like other databases, it does have fields you can search, one of which is MeSH (Medical Subject Heading). There are a few MeSH terms that may help with locating instruments. These include:

  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Surveys
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Psychological Tests
  • Personality Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Data Collection

mesh search

MeSH is probably the most effective way to search PubMed for instruments by topic. For assistance, please contact a librarian.

Searching By Title

If you know the name of the instrument, try searching for "instrument title" being sure to enclose the name in quotes.

instrument title search

Due to the size of the database, and in particular because of the way information is entered into PubMed, this is probably not the best database in which to find instruments.