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Gerstein Science Information Centre

Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (HPME)

What are search filters?

Search filters are:

  • also known as hedges
  • pre-cooked search strings that are designed to limit search results
  • designed to be highly-sensitive, precise, or a balance of both

Commonly, search filters limit search results by:

  • age group
  • publication type
  • study design

They are sometimes available at the click of a button in library databases, but don't let that deceive you! A lot of work goes into developing an effective search strategy for filters, and they often include various combinations of subject headings, textwords, and wildcards.

NOTE: Use filters with caution! 
Many search filters are interface-specific and only available for certain databases.  Some filters have been validated; many have not. 


Search filters for populations, etc

Search filters for health services, quality improvement, knowledge translation, etc

ISSG Search Filters Resource: Health Services Research

ISSG Search Filters Resource: Quality Improvement Filters

ISSG Search Filters Resource: Healthcare Delivery


HIRU Filter: Knowledge Translation (for Medline)

HIRU Filter: Knowledge Translation (for CINAHL)