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Pharmacology and Toxicology Online Masters Program: Using the MSU Libraries: Finding Scientific Articles


To find scientific articles in biomedical, pharmacological, and clinical topics, search PubMed, the premier database from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.  

Basic Online Tutorials from the MSU Libraries:

Finding full text in PubMed


    Hints for good searches:

  • Put in simple search terms or two-word search terms together using the word AND.  This works much better than entering long phrases.  Use OR between terms when you want to include a search for many different possibly synonyms.

Example search: (pharmacogenetics OR pharmacogenomics)  AND cancer


  • Always check the date of the articles you retrieve to make sure you are getting the most recent research.
  • Look first for review articles.  This will provide summary and background to help you understand the field.  You can filter your results to be just review articles in the box on the right hand side of your results page. 
  • If you're getting a lot of results, try doing an Advanced search.  Tell it to search for your search terms in the Title.  That may give you articles closer to what you are looking for.  Or put limits on your search by date or English language. 
  • Use the MeSH database to look up words you might use in your search.  This will tell you the words that are used in PubMed. 

For instance, look up the word "statins" and you see "Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors."  That's the preferred term to search in PubMed. 

  • This is an abstract database, not full text.  To find the full text or articles, look for green spartan buttons indicating electronic version is available through MSU. These only appear if you access PubMed through this guide or the MSU Libraries site.  If this doesn't work, then try the Find Text @MSU link next to it.  Alternatively, note down the journal name and look it up in the MSU Libraries catalog which is linked from the MSU Health Sciences Digital Libraries page.  The catalog will tell you whether we have a journal electronically or in hardcopy and what years. 


Finding Specific Journals

Sometimes you already have a citation and know exactly what journal you want.  In that case, look up the journal two ways:

  1. Search the A-Z list for electronic journals
  2. If the journal is not there or not available for the dates you want, check the online catalog from the health sciences home page (be sure to choose "periodical title" in the drop down box).  We may have the journal in hardcopy if we don't have it electronically.  If so, you can request delivery to you as a distance student (see the tab on distance student resources).
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