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Searching the Literature: A Guide to Comprehensive Searching in the Health Sciences

Students and researchers in the health sciences are often required to conduct comprehensive searches of the literature. Follow the steps in this guide to learn how this process works.

Stay tuned!

We are busy creating new screencasts for Ovid Medline. In the meantime, check out these older but still super helpful tutorials. 

Creating a Search Strategy

  • use PICO to help break your topic down into searchable parts
  • run time: 4.54 minutes

Searching with Subject Headings (MeSH)

  • MeSH (medical subject headings) is the controlled vocabulary thesaurus established by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MeSH consists of sets of identified terms in a hierarchical structure, which enables researchers to adjust the specificity of their search.
  • The accuracy of one's search can also be improved if the appropriate MeSH terms are applied.
  • run time: 10.01 min

Advanced Searching

  • textword (aka keyword) searching
  • quality filters
  • limits
  • run time: 10.32 min

Copying Search Strategies

  • quickly and easily copy your search strategy to include for an assignment
  • keep track and share your search methods
  • run time: 1.45 min