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Systematic and Systematic-like Reviews

Text mining for additional search terms

Text mining is a way to help you identify search terms by using software to check text for recurrent words or phrases. Some free text mining tools are listed below.


PubMed is the free version of MEDLINE, so its abstracts and citations are easily mined. You can use these tools: 

  • PubMed PubReMiner - type in keywords or your research question and the tool will display a table of the most common journal titles, authors, keywords, and MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) terms related to the topic.
  • Yale MeSH Analyzer - if you have a few key articles you can type in their PMIDs (PubMed IDs): the major MeSH terms will be displayed.
  • PubVenn -  presents Venn diagrams showing the relative size of concepts and where they overlap. This is useful for a quick visualisation of where to focus your search.
  • MeSH on Demand - from the National Library of Medicine, this tool enables you to paste in text, such as your research proposal, and retrieve suggested MeSH headings. It also provides links to similar articles.

All Disciplines

  • TerMine is a tool that allows for blocks of text to be mined for keywords. Paste in a whole article or chapter and the most common words and phrases will be extracted.
  • Voyant Tools - includes both text and visual outputs. Paste in a block of text, a URL, or even an RIS file. Keywords and phrases are analysed and also examined for relationships.
  • VosViewer - paste in text to see diagrams of key terms and their relationships to each other.

Search Filters

A search filter is a pre-made search strategy. They are developed to search complex concepts (or concepts that require many search terms) and they can be copied and pasted into a database, edited and combined with the rest of your search.  

Using a search filter can save time and effort. They are designed to be either precise, balanced or specific, depending on what results you want to yield. 

There are a range of search filters available depending on your needs. Some are designed to retrieve specific study designs, others will retrieve records based on topic, or to identify clinical concepts, or features such as the age or gender of research study participants.

Study Design / Methodologies Filters
Topic Filters

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