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Health & Medical Literature Searching

A step by step guide to the literature searching process & techniques

Ebsco MEDLINE Complete is a user friendly interface for searching  all abstracts from the Medline subset of PubMed. MEDLINE uses MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to index all articles from its select list of 5400+  biomedical journals. If you search with Ebsco MEDLINE Complete you will have direct links to full text Medline content available via UNIC.

Search Tips

Basic Search Tips

To create a basic search:

1. Enter your terms in the search bar

2. Click on the Search Options and select a specific search mode such as ''Apply related words'' or apply Limiters such as ''Full Text''


3. Click on the Search button and the results display


To conduct a search using MeSH:

Follow the steps descibed on the example below to learn how to search in MEDLINE Complete using MeSH


Advanced Search Tips

In order to run a well-rounded search through EBSCO MEDLINE, this video will walk you through the steps you need to follow

Proximity searching allows you to search based on how closely two or more search terms appear in the search results.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (W or N) and a number (to specify the number of words).

Proximity Operators

W# = with

  • With specifies that words appear in the order you type them 
  • Substitute the # with a number of words that may appear in between. If no number is given, then it specifies an exact phrase
Advance search  With(W)

N# = near

  • Near specifies that the words may appear in any order
  • Substitute the # with a number of words that may appear in between
  • MEDLINE will return the search results which contain terms including words in any order.
Advanced search  Near (N)

IMPORTANT! Different databases use different proximity operators. Check the help menu of the database you're searching to find out  what symbols it uses.