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Guided Medline Exercise: 8. Refine with Limits

8. Applying Limits to Refine

In Medline Ovid, it is possible to define aspects relevant to the research question as part of the search strategy by using Limits.  These are usually applied at the end of the search strategy. 

There are two categories of Limits: 

  1. Relevant to personal characteristics such as:
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Ethnicity
  2. Relevant to Paper criteria such as:
    • Date
    • Publication Type
    • Language

Step by Step: Applying Limits

Find Additional Limits

These are presented under two different links: Limits opens to a set of commonly used limits; and Additional Limits provides a greater selection of options. 

Note: Filters

Filters allow you to change the view of returned results to reduce the number of results displayed and increase their relevancy. Filters do not change the Search History or the number of results found. 

Filters are found on the left hand side of the results display. 

Limits Dropdown

Applying Limits in Medline

View larger image


View larger image

Find Additional Limits

  1. Start beneath the OVID search bar and find the Limits button
  2. Click to expand Limits
  3. Click the Additional Limits button to further expand the limit criteria
  4. For our Limit search we will want to define two criteria
    • Children between ages 2-18 years old
    • Publications that are
      • Systematic Reviews
      • Randomized Controlled Trials

1.  Define the Age Limit

  1. With Additional Limits enabled
  2. Find the Age Groups heading
    • To select multiple options hold CTRL (CMD on Mac) and click
      • Pre-school Child (2 to 5)
      • Child (6-12)
      • Adolescent (13-18)
    • With your age groups selected, scroll to the top of the page
      • Click the Limit A Search button
  3. Our first limit is Saved in the Search History

2.  Define the Publication Types

  1. With Additional Limits enabled (and having completed the Age Limit)
  2. Find the Publication Types heading
    • To select multiple options hold CTRL (CMD on Mac) and click
      • Systematic review
      • Randomized Controlled Trial
  3. With your Publication Types selected, scroll to the top of the page
    • Click the Limit A Search button
  4. Our second limit is Saved in the Search History



Video Demo: Medline - Setting limits in your search results

Using Limits

  1. Decide if you need to add limits
    • Results may be low enough to scan titles for applicability
  2. Follow steps above to add Limits to your search