Medline 6 – Using Search Filters


This screencast will show you how to apply
filters to your search results. Search filters, or search limits, are another
way that you can narrow down your results, however, when conducting a comprehensive search,
or a search for a systematic review, some filters in the database will not be useful
or appropriate. Search filters are located in the light blue
box here just below the search bar. While limits can be very helpful for precision
searching, they should always be used with caution. To view all available limits, click here on
additional limits. Before staring, make sure that your final
line of search is selected here on the left in the searches box. Let’s start with probably the most trustworthy
filter, the publication date limiter here. If your research is only interested in articles
published between a specific set of dates, you can select a range from the drop down
menus here beside publication year. If you want to add additional limits, you
can continue doing so from this page. The next filter, the language filter, located
here on the right, can be helpful if you would like to remove any articles that are not written
in a language you or your team members can speak. To select multiple limits of the same type,
hold down the control key on your keyboard and select each one. The age and gender limits can also be applied
if you are only interested in retrieving results where a specific population is reported on,
such as all adult females. When applying an age limiter, it’s important
to keep in mind that not every database categorizes age in the same way. The age range for a child, or a middle aged
adult in Medline may not be the same as it is in EMBASE or CINAHL. It’s also very important to note that if
you use any demographic or publication type limit in Medline, you will automatically remove
non-indexed literature from your results—that is, all literature that have not had subjects
applied to them yet. This could mean that you lose the latest 6
months to 2 years of literature. Remember when we said use with caution? This is one of the reasons why. If you want to search demographics or publication
types more carefully, you can look for a validated search filter. These can be tricky to find and often involve
doing research outside the database first. A set of validated filters is available directly
in Medline and its called the Clinical Queries here. These are also called ‘hedges’ and they
limits filter searches according to study design. You can choose to go broad by maximizing sensitivity,
or narrower, by maximizing specificity. If I was only interested in pet therapy clinical
trials in nursing homes, I could limit to Therapy (maximizes sensitivity). If I wanted to limit to reviews, I could also
hit reviews here. After you have selected all of your chosen
limits, scroll back up to the top and click on limit a search. This will take you back to the search page,
and add a new filtered line of search to the bottom of your search history. When using filters and limits it is always
important to give proper consideration to what you will be excluding before you apply
a filter in order to ensure you aren’t removing relevant results, particularly if you’re
working on a systematic or scoping review. Most database filters are unvalidated and
almost always overlimit a search. For questions on the other filters available
in Medline please contact a Gerstein librarian at [email protected]

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