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Strategies for Searching the Literature Using PubMed


Jane L. Forrest, EdD, BSDH; Syrene A. Miller, BA, MSW

Credit Hours:

2 Hour(s)


This continuing education course is a follow up to the course, Evidence-Based Decision Making: Introduction and Formulating Good Clinical Questions.1 The primar...

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This continuing education course is a follow up to the course, Evidence-Based Decision Making: Introduction and Formulating Good Clinical Questions.1 The primary learning objectives for this course are to increase your skills in conducting an efficient computerized search using PubMed to answer a specific clinical question, the second step of the Evidence-based process.

Finding relevant evidence to answer clinical questions requires conducting a focused search of the peer-reviewed professional literature. To assist professionals in keeping up with the literature and in making it possible to quickly find needed information without leaving your location, online access to MEDLINE, the premier scientific database provided by the National Library of Medicine, is available at no cost through PubMed. The purpose of this course is to outline the steps involved in conducting a PubMed search using the traditional comprehensive PubMed search mechanism, including the MeSH database to answer clinical questions. A case scenarios will demonstrate the application of the skills involved. To gain hands-on experience learning the skills, open a second window in your browser and complete each step as you read about it in the course.

  • Intended Audience:

    Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Dental Assistants, Dental Students, Dental Hygiene Students, Dental Assisting Students

  • Date Course Online:

    Mar 20, 2024

  • Last Revision Date:


  • Course Expiration Date:

    Mar 19, 2027

  • Cost:


  • Method:


  • AGD Subject Code(s):


  • Technical Requirements:

    Stable internet connection and the latest version of browser and device software are recommended.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

  • Identify key search terms using the components of a PICO question (Patient/Population Problem, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome).
  • Navigate PubMed’s home page.
  • Apply PubMed’s Filters and Advance Search Features in conducting an efficient search.
  • Search the PubMed MeSH Database to find the correct indexing terms.
  • Describe how to use Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT) to combine search terms.
  • Discuss how using the PubMed ‘Filters’ feature assists in finding the highest levels of evidence.
  • Explain how to combine previous search queries using the Advanced Search History feature.
  • Effectively use PubMed to find evidence to answer a question using the PubMed features including: MeSH, Boolean Operators, Filters, and the Advance Search History.


  • P&G is providing these resource materials to dental professionals. We do not own this content nor are we responsible for any material herein.
  • Participants must always be aware of the hazards of using limited knowledge in integrating new techniques or procedures into their practice.  Only sound evidence-based dentistry should be used in patient therapy.

Note:  Registration is required to take test.


Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement

  • Dr. Jane Forrest has done consulting work for P&G. She is a member of the P&G Oral Care Global Dental Hygiene Advisory Board.
  • Ms. Miller reports no conflicts of interest associated with this course.

Dr. Forrest is a Professor Emerita of Clinical Dentistry, Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Los Angeles, CA. She also is the Director of the National Center for Dental Hygiene Research and Practice, Inc. Dr. Forrest is an internationally re...

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Submission Information

Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Submission For credit transfers to appear in your AGD account in real time, make sure to add your AGD membership number in the field provided on the “Share Your Test Score” page.

CE Broker For all states that use CE Broker for licensure, “proof of completions” are electronically reported the first of every month. If a course was taken in November, the “proof of completion” will be submitted the beginning of December.


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Approved PACE Program Provider


Nationally Approved PACE Program Provider for FAGD/MAGD credit.

Approval does not imply acceptance by any regulatory authority or AGD endorsement.

8/1/2021 to 7/31/2027

Provider ID# 211886


AADH Approved Program Provider

Procter & Gamble is designated as an approved Provider by the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, Inc. #AADHPGC (January 1, 2024-December 31, 2025). Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial Board of Dentistry. Licensee should maintain this document in the event of an audit.