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Medline Exercise: Introduction


This exercise will guide you through the process to build a structured search in Medline on the Ovid platform following these steps:

  1. Identify your research question and analyze using a framework such as PICO
  2. Find relevant search terms - Subject Headings  
  3. Find  relevant search terms - Keywords
  4. Combine searches
  5. Adding Limits or Filters

Why do a structured search?

  • This methodical process saves time (in the long run)
  • Being structured uses the databases' tools and techniques effectively
  • Allows for greater sensitivity balanced with specificity 
  • Knowledge syntheses such as Systematic or Scoping Reviews, require a description of the search process for transparency and replication
  • Here is an example of a structured search: Search Strategy Explained.

Why use Medline on the OVID platform?

  • It has similar content to Pubmed
  • Ovid's mapping to subject headings can be more accurate
  • The Ovid search engine has more tools, such as proximity operators, that help with precision

Let's get started!

Each page includes step by step instructions alongside a video presentation of the process.  To begin you may wish to view each page and "follow along" with the search example. Check out the Activity section for instructions on how to follow along or build your own search.

Steps: Connect to Medline

  1. Start by going to

  2. Choose the Indexes and Databases tab 

  3. Type Medline in the search field and click Search

  4. Choose the Medline (OVID) database from the search results 

    • You may be prompted for your CWL

    • You will be taken to the Ovid search page