A Going! A Going!!! Color etching. Richard Newton, 1813. Courtesy of The National Library of Medicine.

We've got to get you back in shape.

Google Scholar could help you find that elusive source.

The National Library of Medicine's PubMed search site is hands down your best means of locating authoritative medical literature to support your case. Search results are generally articles from prestigious, mostly peer-reviewed medical journals that have passed rigorous standards for inclusion in the MEDLINE database.

Google Scholar, on the other hand, doesn't always lead one to the most reliable sources, but it can locate literature that PubMed might miss for this important reason: PubMed searches for your terms only in the abstract of the article indexed in the MEDLINE database, while Google Scholar searches the ENTIRE ARTICLE for your terms. Hence when you have a difficult, elusive search, and PubMed hasn't been productive, Google Scholar just might find that on-point article for you.

A few tips for searching Google Scholar:  

(1) Google Scholar will search for phrases if you enclose them in quotation marks, for example, "gastroesophageal reflux disease".

(2) Once you have located a relevant article, the "Cited by" and "Related articles" features can lead you to other good sources.

(3) Google Scholar provides links to full-text sources at the right of the citations.

(4) By default, Google Scholar sorts search results by their relevance. Since a search frequently produces thousands of citations, it is generally not fruitful to wade through more than a few pages of these.

Again it should be emphasized that although Google Scholar can produce some unreliable results, it does have the power to locate difficult-to-find supportive literature due to its full-text searching feature.

For your difficult search, keep in mind Google Books as well, as this search tool can find your deeply buried search terms within books. The search results are usually in copyrighted publications, so that all of the text you need may not be freely available, but at the left of your search results are links to an eBook if there is one, and also links to book sellers and to libraries holding the book.

Indeed,  Google Scholar or Google Books could possibly save your day!

Expert Medical Literature Research for Attorneys
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This Tips for Attorneys page was last updated with links verified by MedMatters on November 14, 2018.

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