Skip to main content


Filtering for findability in systematic review search strategies

Date and Location




Saturday 21 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Carla Hagstrom

Contact person

Carla Hagstrom
Heather Cunningham
Abstract text
Background: Researchers constructing a search strategy require results that meet sensitivity and specificity needs. Search filters are collections of search terms designed to retrieve articles of a specific study design, such as randomized control trials or observational studies, or by some other aspect of the research question, such as economic s or patient issues. Filters are a sophisticated combination of controlled vocabulary, keywords and methods that take advantage of the unique tools and indexing of particular databases. Search filters can run from a few search lines to over one hundred lines in length. Since researchers need to search several databases in order to be comprehensive and reduce bias of results, filters are also specific to the database and platform such as Ovid for MEDLINE or EBSCO for CINAHL. They are created by research teams and are pre-tested and evaluated to ensure the quality of retrieved results. Objectives:This poster will illustrate the importance as well as the limitations of search filters in the overall searching and information retrieval process. Methods: We will illustrate various sources of search filters in accordance with relevant study types and database interfaces. We will include links and QR codes to the websites of the filters, the organizations that created them, as well as supporting evidence. Results: Knowledge of where to find an appropriate search filter and how to incorporate into the search strategy can lead to efficiencies, as the search results will be more relevant Conclusions:Search filters can aid in retrieving relevant citations and weeding out unwanted results, thus saving valuable time for analysis.