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Health Sciences Advanced Search

This guide is designed from postgraduate level students working on primary research projects or dissertations.

Medline & MeSH

Medline database:


The Medline database is a subset of the larger, more comprehensive PubMed BioMedical Sciences database.

Medline as subset of PubMed

Medline database includes literature in the following subject areas:

  • human medicine
  • microbiology
  • delivery of healthcare
  • nutrition
  • pharmacology
  • dental hygiene
  • environmental health
  • and much much more.

Subject areas in Medline can be categorized into several areas:

  • anatomy
  • organisms
  • diseases
  • psychiatry
  • psychology
  • and the physical sciences such as biology

Medline is provided by 2 different commercial vendors: EBSCOhost and OVID.
Take a look at both Medlines and chose the database interface you like the best.
The Medline (EBSCO) interface is easier.
The Medline (OVID) interface is much more clunky but has more technical options.
Medline (EBSCO)

Medline (EBSCO) search boxes

Medline (EBSCO) provides MeSH

Medline MeSH (EBSCO) 2019

Click the MeSH 2019 link to enter the MeSH Dictionary.

Type your search term into the search box to determine the correct search term for searching the Medline (EBSCO) database.

Medline MeSH search 2019

Now select the term recommended by the database.

Medline MeSH term selection

Select the term by clicking the checkbox beside the term. Once you select the term, a blue line and column will appear with additional selections.

Medline MeSH EBSCO selection options

ADVICE: Always select the EXPLODE option to ensure ALL synonyms are searched automatically in the background.

ADVICE: Only select one option from the checkbox list. If you need to choose more, perform separate searches for each checkbox selection.

Now click the BIG GREEN Search Database Button on the right.

Medline MeSH Search Button

Limiters / Filters in Medline (EBSCO)

After you've performed a search in MeSH for the correct controlled vocabulary search term, look to the left side of the RESULTS LIST to see the Refine Results navigation options. Look for the Show More link:

Medline Show More Refine Results options

After you click SHOW MORE, you will see multiple additional options that will help focus a search.

Medline Limits Options webpage

Medline (EBSCO) Limits options webpage

Notice the following options:

  • Full-Text
  • Publication Date
  • Human
  • English Language
  • Peer-Reviewed
  • Sex
  • Age Groups
  • Publication Type


NEVER select the Full-Text checkbox option. If you select that option, you will be accessing full-text bought by the Libraries from EBSCO only. If you leave the Full-Text checkbox option unchecked, you will be accessing ALL the Full-Text the Library owns.

NEVER select the Evidence Based Practice checkbox option. That box is NOT accurate. It will miss important research. Instead, search for specific "research methods" that provide scientific evidence.

PLAY CLOSE ATTENTION to the Publication Type menu option. Select from a list of research methods:

Publication Type option in EBSCO

The Publication Type options list a few research methods. If you wish to select more than one research method, simply hold down the Control (Ctrl) Key and make your selections. Then release the Control Key.

If the Publication Type feature does not list the research method you want, simply type in the research method into the normal search boxes.

Medline EBSCO with research method as search term

Medline & MeSH (EBSCO) Video Demo

        Coming Soon

Medline (OVID)

Medline (OVID) Search Box

Medline (OVID) provides access to MeSH through the Map Term to Subject Heading checkbox.

Medlines MeSH (OVID) checkbox

Type the search term into the search box and click SEARCH.

On the OVID MeSH webpage, select the term recommended and select EXPLODE. The click CONTINUE.

Medline MeSH OVID sections

After clicking CONTINUE, the database will offer "Subheading" choices. Select only 1 at a time. Perform separate searches.

Medline OVID Subheadings

After clicking CONTINUE again, Medline (OVID) displays your Results.

Medline OVID Search Results

Limiters / Filters in Medline (OVID)

After you've performed a search with the correct controlled vocabulary, scroll down below the Search Box to see the ADDITIONAL LIMITS button.

Medline OVID Additional Limits Button

Clicking the ADDITIONAL LIMITS button will reveal an extensive list of option to limit the search.

Medline OVID Limits options

After options have been selected, click the LIMIT A SEARCH button.

Medline OVID limit a search button

Your new, more focused Search Results will display.

Medline OVID Search Results with Limits

OVID returned 4 results on the topic brain cancer diagnosis for human, over the age of 45, published since 2017 that used the Randomized Controlled Trial research method.

Medline & MeSH (OVID) Search Demonstration Video

     Coming Soon