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Health Sciences: Literature searching

Research Methods

Search history

Use an Ovid command
Conduct a complete search in an Ovid database and in the end write in the search field and the search history is shown.

Or click on

Search Filters

Search filters are a supplement to filters in databases. In some databases they can be insufficient or not containing what users might expect.
A search filter is a search string which can capture specific study types or specific topics.

Be aware of the fact that the use of these search filters may result in excluding relevant studies (Cooper, Varley-Campbell & Carter, 2019;. Leeflang, Rutjes, Reitsma & Bossuyt, 2006). Therefore, it is advisible to evaluate the filters before using them (Glanville et al., 2008).
Pay attention on factors such as sensitivity and precision when choosing a search filter (Beale et al., 2014).

We recommend using the search filters from the websites below.

References on search filters:

Beale, S., Duffy, S., Glanville, J., Lefebvre, C., Wright, D., McCool, R., . . . Smith, L. (2014). Choosing and using methodological search filters: searchers' views. Health Info Libr J, 31(2), 133-147. doi:10.1111/hir.12062

Cooper, C., Varley-Campbell, J., & Carter, P. (2019). Established search filters may miss studies when identifying randomized controlled trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 112, 12-19. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2019.04.002

Glanville, J., Bayliss, S., Booth, A., Dundar, Y., Fernandes, H., Fleeman, N. D., . . . Welch, K. (2008). So many filters, so little time: the development of a search filter appraisal checklist. J Med Libr Assoc, 96(4), 356-361. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.96.4.011.

Glanville J, Foxlee R, Wisniewski S, Noel-Storr A, Edwards M, Dooley G. Translating the Cochrane EMBASE RCT filter from the Ovid interface to a case study. Health Info Libr J. 2019;36(3):264-277. doi:10.1111/hir.12269
Glanville, J., Kotas, E., Featherstone, R., & Dooley, G. (2020). Which are the most sensitive search filters to identify randomized controlled trials in MEDLINE?. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 108(4), 556–563. doi:

Leeflang, M. M., Scholten, R. J., Rutjes, A. W., Reitsma, J. B., & Bossuyt, P. M. (2006). Use of methodological search filters to identify diagnostic accuracy studies can lead to the omission of relevant studies. J Clin Epidemiol, 59(3), 234-240. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.07.014.

Literature searches and Reviews


The University Library of Southern Denmark offers employees at SDU and OUH, access to the software platform Covidence, which can be used for sorting and screening literature, quality assessment and data extraction in connection with systematic reviews.
The SDU students has only access to the free version (max screening 500 references).

Access to Covidence

To get to know the Covidence program, we recommend that you first practice in the free version of the program and use your SDU email to create a review:

Employees at SDU and OUH can get access to the full version of Covidence. Contact the Licensing Office who will assist you with access.
Remember to give the name of your review!

We advise you NOT to upload documents licensed from the SDU library to Covidence. It might be illegal due to copyright regulations.
Be aware that you are not allowed to share licensed documents with persons, not employed at SDU or OUH.

University Library of Southern Denmark
Odense - Esbjerg - Kolding - Slagelse - Sønderborg
Phone: +45 6550 2100

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