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BMS105/132 Research Skills Guide: MEDLINE/PUBMED


MEDLINE is recognized as the premier index of biomedical literature, and includes coverage of biomedical sciences. It is produced by the United States National Library of Medicine and covers thousands of international journals from 1950. Medline can be used to find primary EBP research.


  • Ovid Medline search screenThe default is to the Advanced Search screen. There is only one line of search, so for more complex searches you will need to use Nesting (see Searching in a database for information on nesting searches), or run your searches individually and then combine them.
  • There are other Search Modes available. With Basic Search, you can simply type in exactly what you are searching for, and the results will be sorted by Relevance.
  • The default is to a phrase search so typing in medical research will search for that as a phrase.
  • There are many limiters available. Some of these you can apply at the time of your search, others - Additional Limits - can only be applied to a search you have already run.
  • MEDLINE is primarily an index, but does have some links to full-text. For results where there is no full-text link, click on the Find it at CSU link to search for the full article in other CSU Library databases.
  • Searches are recorded in the Search History panel which is above the Search panel. If you can't see all of your previous searches, click on the Expand button to the right of the Search history panel.

Introduction to Medline on Ovid


PubMed comprises of more than 28 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals and online books. PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of biomedicine and health, covering portons of life sciences, behavioural science, chemical sciences and bioengineering. Citations may include links to full-text from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

PubMed is essentially the free version of MEDLINE. One advantage of using PubMed is that access is free, which means that you will have access after you complete your studies. If you are interested in the difference between MEDLINE and PubMed, the National Library of Medicine has a fact-sheet.

For more tips on searching in PubMed, please see PubMed Help


Basic Search is the default browser

  • Use key concepts: Handwashing AND soap

3. Click Search.

1. Identify the key concepts for your search.

  • You may want information on What is the advantage to washing your hands with soap?
2. Enter the terms (or key concepts) in the search box.

Use the Advanced search Builder to search for terms in a specific search field.

  • To search by author, select Author from the All Fields menu, and then enter an author’s name, the name will automatically display in the search box. The author search box includes an autocomplete feature.
  • To search by journal, select Journal from the All Fields menu, enter a journal name; the journal search box also includes an autocomplete feature.
  • To search for other fields in a citation, use the pull-down menus to select a field before entering a term in the search builder box.
  • Terms entered in the builder are automatically added to the search box.
  • Note that the default Boolean operator is AND; if desired, choose OR or NOT from the pull-down menu.

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