9. Refining Search Results

  1. Caroline De Brún1 and
  2. Nicola Pearce-Smith2

Published Online: 15 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118463093.ch9

Searching Skills Toolkit: Finding the Evidence, Second Edition

Searching Skills Toolkit: Finding the Evidence, Second Edition

How to Cite

De Brún, C. and Pearce-Smith, N. (eds) (2014) Refining Search Results, in Searching Skills Toolkit: Finding the Evidence, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118463093.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Clinical Support Librarian, UCL Library Services and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

  2. 2

    Information Scientist, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Summertown Pavilion, Middle Way, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 3 JAN 2014

Book Series:

Book Series Editors:

  1. Carl Heneghan,
  2. Rafael Perera and
  3. Douglas Badenoch

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118463130

Online ISBN: 9781118463093



  • clinical queries;
  • limits;
  • methodological filters;
  • search results;
  • systematic reviews


If the search strategy has retrieved too many results, limits or search filters can be used to refine the search; both can be applied at the start of the search process or at the end. Applying limits reduces the amount of hits by retrieving only those records matching the chosen limit/s. A way to limit search is to use the Publication Type field, as this allows one to search for particular study types such as meta-analysis and randomised controlled trial. The search terms using methodological filters, can be thesaurus, free text, publication types or a combination of all three. Clinical queries are comprehensive, validated methodological search filters that can be applied to searches in Medline. There are several important databases containing systematic reviews, including the Cochrane Library and DARE; Medline also indexes systematic reviews, including Cochrane reviews.