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Research Center

How to Find a Clinical Research Study/Clinical Trial

One way to look for a clinical study or clinical trial is to go to a government website, ClinicalTrials.gov. This website lists studies and trials in the USA funded by the government or funded privately. It also has a lot of information about clinical studies/trials.

Finding studies close to home

Finding clinical studies that are happening relatively close to where you live is a requirement for most people. In any search that you do on ClinicalTrials.gov, it is important that you include your city and state in your search. Location information can be added on to any search on ClinicalTrials.gov, helping you find the study that most closely matches your needs and location.

How to use ClinicalTrials.gov

Click on "Search for Clinical Trials". There are 4 search choices:

Basic Search - enter a word or phrase

Advanced Search - enter more information for a more specific search

Studies by Topic - lists of studies

Studies on Map - find studies where you live

Get Some Help

The key to using ClinicalTrials.gov is learning how to use their search tools. To get useful search results, you search by gender, location, and disease. For a full listing of all search limits and other search tips, check out these links that will help you learn how to get the best results fast.

  1. Basic Search (3 min.)
  2. Clinical Study Details (2 min.)
  3. Customize Your Display (2 min.)
  4. Advanced Search (3 min.)
  5. Refine a Search (2 min.)
  6. Downloading Search Results (4 min.)
  7. RSS Feed Setup for a Search (2 min.)

Refine your search terms

Below are some examples showing how to do a search. The number of studies listed will change from day to day as new studies are added and others are removed when they are finished. Click on the links to find out about studies and see how these tools can help you get the most useful list of results.

Using "AND" is one of the easiest ways to reduce the number of results in your search. Putting the word "AND" (all upper case) in the search phrase tells the tool to only display results that contain both words.

Example:

 

heart attack 1853 study results
heart attack AND aspirin 197 study results
heart attack AND aspirin AND older adults 7 study results
heart attack AND aspirin AND older adults AND California 1 study result

Using "OR" allows you to get more results. This can be used to include different words that have similar meanings; for example, to find studies for older adults use words such as: older adult, senior, or aged. Using "OR" helps find all the ways older adults may be described.

Example:

 

older adults 5,318 study results
older adults OR senior 75,426 study results
older adults OR senior OR aged 78,884 study results

Using "NOT" allows you to avoid a large number of results that you do not want.

Example:

 

Immunodeficiency 3762 study results
Immunodeficiency NOT AIDS 196 study results

 

Using "Parenthesis" ( ) allows you to combine the AND, OR, and NOT terms together into one search, allowing for the most specific result.

Example:

 

Immunodeficiency NOT (AIDS OR Stem Cell) 142 study results

A few extra tips:

To search for AND as a word instead of using it as an operator, put it in quotes. Likewise, you can quote OR, NOT, and parentheses.

Abbreviations - When looking for a specific disease or condition, also consider common abbreviations for well-known diseases, such as 'HCL' (Harry Cell Leukemia) or 'ALS' (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

Limit your search to open studies

After developing your list of search terms to get the most useful results, you may further narrow your results by only searching trials that are recruiting participants. At the top of the list, you will find a link that states, "Hide studies that are not seeking new volunteers".

Example:

 

Immunodeficiency 3762 study results
Immunodeficiency NOT AIDS 196 study results

 

For more information:

Go to the Research Center health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: May 15, 2011

Rose Kegler Hallarn, BS Rose Kegler Hallarn, BS
Program Director of Clinical Trials Recruitment
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University