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Medline: EBM & MEDLINE

OVID Medline guide intended to provide basic information about Medline and how to search it.

Aim of EBM & Medline

The aim of this page is to show you how to retrieve Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) documents using OVID Medline.

EBM & Medline

There are two easy ways that one can limit Medline OVID search to retrieve only EBM documents:

   1) "Clinical Queries":

Search Medline as explained in the Medline tutorial, then click "Limits", then "Additional Limits" and select the section "Clinical Queries" to choose the appropriate EBM filter.

Suppose you want to see if there is evidence about effectiveness of needle biopsy in diagnosing prostatic cancer.
Search Medline OVID as discussed previously; click "Limits" then "Additional Limits". Go down to "Clinical Queries" that filters for evidence-based citations.

"Clinical Queries" has the following options according to categories:

          therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, reviews, clinical prediction guides, qualitative studies, etiology, costs, economics.

For each one you have three choices:

        1) Sensitivity (produces largest number of records, from which some are not relevant).
        2) Specificity (produces highest level of relevancy and the least number of citations with the possibility of missing one).
        3) Optimized (results are in between sensitivity and specificity options).

Limit the last result from search history ("prostatic neoplasms" and "needle biopsy") with the diagnosis (optimized) filter to limit retrieval to EBM literature. If not satisfied, select limit by "diagnosis (specificity)" or "diagnosis (sensitivity)". 

Usually when searching for EBM it is advisable not to Focus the MeSH terms and also to OR MeSH with keyword search.


  2) "Publication Types":

Search Medline as explained in the Medline tutorial, then click "Limits", then "Additional Limits", go to section "Publication Types", select one or more of below publication types that give EBM documents according to the clinical question:

'Clinical Trial', 'Comparative Study', 'Consensus Development Conference', 'Controlled Clinical Trial', 'Evaluation Studies', 'Guideline', 'Meta Analysis', 'Multicenter Study', 'Practice Guideline', 'Randomized Controlled Trial', and 'Validation Studies'. 


Critical Appraisal

Results retrieved from Medline OVID after limiting with EBM filters, have not been critically appraised, so you need to critically appraise before applying information to patient care.

Duke University has a nice page on critically appraising articles by category.