Search help

The PEDro database can be searched from the Simple or Advanced search pages, which are accessed by clicking the links in the left navigation bar.

  1. Overview
  2. Using wildcards
  3. An exact match
  4. Combining search terms
  5. Specifying values within a range
  6. Missing abstract?
  7. Accessing full text
  8. Selecting records

1. Overview

The PEDro database can be searched from the Simple or Advanced search pages, which are accessed by clicking the links in the left navigation bar. Individual trials, reviews or guidelines are referred to as records. To find particular records, you specify search criteria (characteristics of the trials, reviews or guidelines you want to find) in the search page. Then PEDro searches all the records in the database and returns the Search Results: the set of records that matches the search criteria.

The Search Results are displayed in a list by title. Clinical practice guidelines are shown first, followed by reviews and then trials. Trials are sorted by PEDro score. You can see more information about a record by clicking on its title. This gives a Detailed Search Result, which includes author, title, method, method score and (provided that the publisher has granted permission) abstract.

You can get back to the Search Results page from the Detailed Search Results page using the Back button on your browser. You can also select records for ease of saving, printing or emailing (see below).

To find a record or group of records:

  • Go to the Advanced search page.
  • Specify what you are searching for, either by typing text into the text boxes or selecting from the pull-down menus of one of the search fields. Generally it is most efficient to search by typing one or more search terms in the Abstract field.
  • Note that you do not need to enter search terms in EVERY box. For most searches a maximum of three boxes is sufficient (and often one or two well chosen words in the Abstract field is sufficient).
  • You can search for variants of words (such as oedema and edema, or leg and legs) by using wildcards (see below).
  • At the bottom of the Advanced search page, select the number of records you want to be displayed on the Search Results page (between 5 and 50). This step is optional. If you do not make a selection, the search will return 20 records on each Search Results page.
  • You can perform more powerful searches by entering search terms into more than one field and combining search terms with the AND and OR operators (see below).
  • Click on the Start Search button to search the PEDro database.

This video tutorial describes how to do a simple search using PEDro.

This video tutorial describes how to do an advanced search using PEDro.

2. Using wildcards

Often it is useful to search for a number of variations of a word. For example you may be interested in articles which contain either the word enthesopathy or the word enthesopathies. By default, PEDro takes any word or part of a word you type in one of the four text fields (Abstract & Title, Author/Assocation, Source or Title Only) and looks for any record containing those letters at the start of a word. Thus, typing enthesopath will return records containing enthesopathy or enthesopathies.

You can also look for variations at the beginning of a word by using an asterisk (*) to indicate any letter or group of letters. For example, if you wanted to find papers on edema, oedema, lymphedema or lymphoedema, you could type *edema in a text field. The asterisk denotes unlimited truncation – it can represent any number of letters (including 0). Putting an asterisk at the end of a word is not necessary, as PEDro searches in this way by default.

If you put an asterisk at the beginning of a word, PEDro will not also look for variants at the end of the word (that is, PEDro can’t simultaneously search for variants at the beginning and end of the same word).

Another form of wildcard is the @ symbol, which denotes mandated (single character) truncation. You can use the @ symbol when there are single character variations on a word. For example, if you were searching by author and did not know if the author’s name was Rawson or Rawsen, you could search for Raws@n.

3. An exact match

An exact word match can be sought by typing = before search criteria. For example =Bo finds all the records containing Bo K or Williams BO, but not records containing Boers M.

4. Combining search terms

To search using all the search terms in the fields on the Advanced search page, use the AND operator (by clicking the button next to Match all search terms (AND) at the bottom of the Advanced search page). This causes PEDro to search for only those trials, reviews or guidelines which contain all of the search terms you have specified. The effect is to restrict the number of retrieved records compared to the number that would be returned with any one of the individual search terms. Click on this button to combine search terms when a search using a single search term returns too many records.

To search using any of the search terms in the fields on the Advanced search page, use the OR operator (by clicking the button next to Match any search term (OR) at the bottom of the Advanced search page). This causes PEDro to search for trials, reviews or guidelines which contain any of the search terms you have specified. The effect is to increase the number of retrieved records compared to the number that would be returned with any one of the individual search terms. Click on this button to combine search terms when a search using a single search term returns too few records.

You cannot mix ANDs and ORs in a single search. However, you can make PEDro search for two (or more) words (and intervening spaces or punctuation) as if they were one by enclosing the words in inverted commas (eg, “lateral epicondylitis“). Effectively this combines the two terms with an AND operator. Alternatively, you can use the wildcard operators (*) to look for related words (eg, *edema – see the section on wildcards above). Effectively this combines related terms (in this example, edema, oedema, lymphedema and lymphoedema) with an OR operator. The combined terms can then be combined with other terms (or even other sets of terms combined with inverted commas or wildcards) using AND or OR operator, if desired.

It is possible to put wildcards in between inverted commas. For example “Medicine * Rehabilitation” will return records containing both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

The methods for combining search terms are summarised in the following table.

To search for Select And type Comments
All records with the words lateral and epicondylitis in the abstract (but not records containing just lateral or just epicondylitis in the abstract) lateral epicondylitis in the Abstract field This will retrieve records with abstracts containing treatment of lateral epicondylitis as well as records with abstracts containing treatment of epicondylitis and pain on the lateral aspect of the arm
All records containing the words lateral epicondylitis together in the abstract “lateral epicondylitis” in the Abstract field This will retrieve records with abstracts containing treatment of lateral epicondylitis but would not retrieve a record with an abstract containing treatment of epicondylitis and pain on the lateral aspect of the arm
All records with pain in the abstract and electrotherapy as the therapy (but not records containing just pain, and not records just indexed as electrotherapy) Match all search terms (AND) pain in the Abstract field and electrotherapy in the Therapy field
All records with pain in the abstract or electrotherapy as the therapy Match any search term (OR) pain in the Abstract field and electrotherapy in the Therapy field

5. Specifying values within a range

A range of values for a search field can be specified as part of your search. For example, you may be interested in records published between 1990 and 2000. You can do this by entering the following in the “Published Since” field: 1990…2000. This operator … (3 periods) can also be used to specify records published during a single year. For example, to find trials published in 1990, type 1990…1990. The same operator can be used to search for records with a particular range of quality scores.

6. Missing abstract?

Permission from journal publishers is sought before abstracts of records on PEDro are displayed. When this permission has not yet been granted (which is quite common) abstracts are not displayed. PEDro users may be able to access the abstract (and sometimes the full text of the article) from the link(s) provided in the Abstract section on the Detailed Search Results page. The number of links will depend on whether the record is indexed on Medline, PubMed Central and the CEBP_Maastricht databases, if it has a DOI (digital object identifier) number, or if the publisher has a web-site. The links are listed in order of likelihood for accessing free full text, from most likely to least likely. Accessing the abstract via the publishers’ web-site will require additional searching.

If you type a search term in the abstract field, PEDro will search all abstracts to see if they satisfy that search criteria, even if the abstract is not displayed in the Detailed Search Results page.

Some records do not have abstracts because that is the style of the journal in which they were published. If you search for terms in the abstract field you will not search records that do not have abstracts.

7. Accessing full text

Links to full text (either free or pay per view) are available in the Abstract section on the Detailed Search Results page. The record may have more than one link depending on whether the record is indexed on Medline, PubMed Central and the CEBP_Maastricht databases, if it has a DOI (digital object identifier) number, or if the publisher has a web-site. The links are listed in order of likelihood for accessing free full text. Links at the beginning of the list are more likely to link to free full text, while those at the end of the list are less likely. Using the PubMed Central, CEBP_Maastricht, DOI and PubMed links should provide direct linkage to the abstract and full text for the record. Accessing full text via the publishers’ web-site will require additional searching.

This video tutorial demonstrates how to access full text using PEDro.

8. Selecting records

Records can be selected from the Search Results or Detailed Search Results pages. These records can later be viewed on the Selected Search Results page by clicking on the Display Selected Records button on either the Search Results or Detailed Search Results page.

The Display Selected Records function makes saving or printing the bibliographic details and abstracts of several records easy. Selected records can be saved to disk or printed using the file menu on your browser. Alternatively, selected records can be emailed (for example to your home email address if you are searching at work) by using the Email Results button on the Selected Search Results page.

The Continue Searching button on the Search Results page returns you to the Search page. Any records which have been previously selected remain selected when you continue searching. The Start New Search button on the Selected Search Results page clears all selected records (so that there are then no selected records). Starting a new search from the Detailed Search Results page will also clear all the selected records.

Individual selected records can be removed (de-selected) by the Remove This Record button on the Selected Search Results page. If you inadvertently select a record twice, the duplicate titles will appear first on the list in the Selected Search Results page with a Duplicate Selection message. Remove the record by clicking on the Remove This Record message. The other copy of the record will remain selected.