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Searching Ovid: Medline

Searching with Keywords

Keyword searching is where you choose terms for your search concepts, and search for those words within different fields, such as the title or abstract.

It is a good idea to search for each of your concepts using keywords as well as subject headings. This ensures you find more results relevant to your question.

The Scope notes from your chosen subject heading(s) may be a helpful source of synonyms, as well as a thesaurus.
See our Search Tips Guide for more information and tips on keyword searching.
  1. Start by typing your word(s) or phrase(s) into the search box. If you have more than one word / phrase, separate them with OR and put them in brackets.
    For example:
    • rehabilitat*
    • (rehabilitat* OR physiotherap* OR "physical therap*" OR "exercise therap*")
  2. You can choose how Medline will search for your term(s). Here are some of the main options:
    • Type .mp. after your search term(s) e.g. rehabilitat*.mp.
      This will search for references where your words appear in several specific fields, including the title, abstract, subject heading, author keywords, and more. 
    • Type .tw. after your search term(s) e.g. rehabilitat*.tw.
      This will search for references where your words appear in the title or the abstract only. 
    • Type .ti. after your search term(s) e.g. rehabilitat*.ti.
      This will search for references where your words appear in the title only. 
    You can click on Search Fields above the search box to see a list of possible options:
    Medline - Search Fields
  3. Type in your keywords with your preferred search field option and click the Search button:
    Medline - Search by keyword example
  4. You will then return to the search screen. Your search line will be listed in the Search History:
    Medline - Search results
  5. Complete this process for each of your search concepts.
    If your search reaches 5 lines or more, you can click Expand on the right to see the entire search history:
    Medline - Search History expand button