When you search for resources in a library discovery layer or individual databases, your search results list will likely include many results that don’t match what you are looking for. They could be published too long ago, not peer-reviewed, or not available as full text through your library, for example. In this module, you’ll find out how to use tools called “filters” to narrow your list of search results to see more relevant results.
Discovery layers and individual databases have filters (sometimes called “limits” or “limiters”) that help you refine your search so that you retrieve results that are more accurate and relevant to what you are looking for. When you select a filter, all search results that do not match the filter’s criteria will be removed from your search results. Using filters can help you narrow down your search results to the ones that are most relevant to your topic. Explore the tabs to find out about the following types of filters:
Some filters are used in almost all databases and discovery layers. Knowing about these filters can help you narrow your search in many different search interfaces. Watch the video and read the information below.
Here are some commonly used filters:
Note: Databases do not typically have filters for geographic locations (such as Canada or Ontario). To search for articles that refer to specific locations, you will need to use keywords and/or subject headings. See the module Conduct Your Search for information.
When searching CINAHL, you need to select your filters before performing your search. Start by clicking on Advanced Search (under the search box) to display all of the search options. Watch the video and read the information below to learn about the filters you can use in CINAHL.
In addition to the general filters, you can also use the following filters in CINAHL:
Tip: There is no filter in CINAHL to search for either qualitative or quantitative studies. To limit your search to qualitative or quantitative studies, add the CINAHL subject heading Qualitative Studies or Quantitative Studies to your search.
When searching in PubMed, select your filters on the search results page after performing your search. Watch the video and read the information below to find out how to use filters in PubMed.
In addition to the general filters, you can also use the following filters in PubMed:
Tip: There is no filter in PubMed to search for either qualitative or quantitative studies; however, the following methods will allow you to limit your results:
Note: Almost all of the journals in PubMed are peer-reviewed, so there is no filter for peer review. If you absolutely must confirm whether a journal is peer-reviewed, go to the journal’s website and look for an About page. If it’s peer-reviewed, it should say so on this page.