DH 2212: Communication for Oral Health Providers

PubMed search

Literature Review Process


  1. Create your research question (PICO)
  2. Search the literature
  3. Select relevant articles
  4. Organize your articles

Framing the research question with PICO. 

  • P (population, problem, patient)
  • I (intervention)
  • C (comparison)
  • O (outcome)

The PICO framework can help you identify your clinical question. In most circumstance you will only have a P, I, and O. When searching for articles start by searching for the P (population, problem, patient) and I (intervention). Then browse the article abstracts for the O (outcome). For more information on using PICO, see this guide about the Well-Built Clinical Question (PICO). 

Resources for Searching

Ovid Medline Help for more information check out our online guide.

Organizing Your References

As you search the journal literature you will want to collect and organize your references, or article citations. The easiest way to do this is by using a citation manager such as Zotero. Citation managers allow you to:

  • Export citations from databases and store them
  • Collect and store PDFs
  • Insert and format citations in MS Word

Zotero is a free citations manager that will help you collect and organize your citations, save PDFs, insert citations into MS Word or Google Docs, and help you organize your research projects.

For more information:

NLM Citation Style, 2nd ed

Citing Medicine provides assistance to authors in compiling lists of references for their publications, to editors in revising such lists, to publishers in setting reference standards for their authors and editors, and to librarians and others in formatting bibliographic citations. This is the citation style that you will need to use for this course. 

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2024 10:37 AM