Clinical Decision Support Tools & Instructions
The Literature Searching guide shows you how to complete an effective literature search from beginning to end. Use the tabs at the top of the page to navigate through the guide.
Remember: the Library team provides a range of research support services to Monash Health employees and students. Attend a live webinar, book a research consultation, or request a literature search and get in touch with the Library team if you have any questions.
Ovid is a powerful search platform that can be used to build and run complex literature searches across a range of citation databases. At Monash Health, the following databases open in the Ovid search platform:
Visit the Medline User Guide for a quick overview of basic Ovid features.
What about other databases? Remember to consult our 1-page overview of health databases to help you choose one or more databases.
Tip: If you see a database referred to as "Ovid Medline", for example, it simply means that Ovid was used to search the Medline database.
Incorporating these shortcuts into your keywords can help you to search efficiently for spelling variations and differences in phrasing.
|Phrase Searching||Truncation (*)||Adjacency (ADJn-1)||Wildcard (?)|
Most databases use double quotation marks for phrase searching; e.g. "diabetes mellitus" or "skin cancer"
Note: Ovid databases do not need quotation marks for phrases.
To find alternative endings for a keyword.
To find keywords in close proximity to one another. In ADJ(n-1), the n = the number of other words that you will accept between the keywords.
To substitute one letter in a word for any other letter or character, or none.
|Example search term||NA||(cancer* OR neoplasm*) AND (therap* OR treat*)||((cancer* OR neoplasm*) ADJ3 (treat* or therap* or chemotherap*))||(p?ediatric* ADJ3 (cancer* or neoplasm*))|
|Tips||Phrase searching can be used to narrow and broaden results. Use carefully and consider synonyms so that your don't miss relevant papers.||Think twice before truncating shorter words -- act* will find 'action', 'acting', as well as 'actually' and 'actuary'.||The 'n' in 'ADJn' can be any number you like: ADJ5, ADJ6, and so on. Think about common ways of expressing similar ideas or topics and how close or far apart the keywords can be.||Use a hashtag (#) instead if you only want to substitute one letter or character, e.g. 'wom#n' will find 'women' and 'woman'.|
Note: These 'shortcuts' are known as search operators or syntax. They are, in effect, a language that we can use to 'talk' to search platforms and citation databases. Different search platforms and databases speak in slightly different languages. See the Quick reference syntax table for more information.
Medline is a premier citation database for peer reviewed literature on biomedicine and life sciences topics available via Ovid. Created by the US National Library of Medicine, Medline comprises over 26 million articles from quality, peer-reviewed journals.
Medline is the recommended bibliographic database for health researchers and clinical queries.
View the advanced user guide for detailed, step by step, instructions and guidance on using the Medline database.. It covers:
20min video showing search functions in Ovid Medline and translation to Embase
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