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NSG 646: Finding Epidemiological Studies

Finding Epidemiological Studies

*You will need to log in with your MU ID and password when accessing this resource off campus*

To find epidemiological studies in MEDLINE, you need to enter your search in a very specific way. An example screenshot appears below the description.

  1. Your disease should go in the top text box. Take care to search for both the commonly used name and correct medical terminology when applicable.
  2. In the second box you should enter: epidemi* or disease outbreaks. You can copy and paste that directly from here into the search box. The * at the end of "epidemi" will return results with any ending after the i, for example, epidemic, epidemics, epidemiology, and epidemiological.
  3. If you want to narrow to a specific patient population (other than age range or gender- see note below) such as race, ethnicity, or disability status, for example, enter that in the third text box.


Before you click the search button, scroll down the page and review the additional limit options. You can limit by:

  • date range to obtain a list of the most current studies (this can also be done after you get search results)
  • selecting the checkbox for human subjects
  • select "Journal Article" on the Publication Type menu
  • selecting the checkbox for peer reviewed journals
  • specific age range of subjects in the studies using the Age Related menu
  • a specific subject sex by selecting male or female on the Sex menu
Although you have made these selections and limited your search, you still need to carefully review your results list to ensure that the articles you choose are research articles. Peer reviewed journals publish opinion pieces, letters to the editor, and reports and updates from the CDC and WHO that do not constitute research. Watch for the following section headers in the article to confirm that it is a research study:
  • Introduction, Background, or Overview - describes the problem being researched, reasons for the study, may include the hypothesis.
  • Methods or Methodology - describes how the study was conducted; who was included in the population, how was the study set up, were there examinations, surveys, or clinical interventions used?
  • Results -  the actual data collected in the study, often includes charts, graphs, or tables.
  • Conclusions or Discussion - authors explain what the results show, was their hypothesis supported by the data?, what might the next steps be to continue research on this topic?