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Database Searching: Refining the Search

How to Refine the Results of a Search

After running your search in a database, you might want to focus or refine the results. Refining a list of results in a database can be done by using the built-in limit/filter options available. Limits and filters are used synonymously to describe any built-in options within a database which help to refine and focus the results yielded after running a search. The examples below display the refining options in each database, as well as, a description of where to find the limiting/refining options and a link which points to the database itself so you can try your hand at employing limits/filters.

PubMed

PubMed Search Filters

PubMed displays refining options in the left sidebar after running a search. Click the "show additional filters" link to display all possible options in the sidebar.

Embase

Embase Search Limits

After running a search in Embase, look below the search box to find and apply various filter options. There is a "quick filters" option for common limits like language, species, and content type. More detailed filters can be applied using the other options available.

Cochrane

Cochrane Search Limits

Cochrane displays a limited set of search filters in the Search Manager section of the database. Click on the limit icon to the right after running a search.

Web of Science

Web of Science Refine Search

Web of Science displays refining options in the left sidebar after running a search. All possible filters are displayed in this view.

CINAHL

CINAHL Advanced Search

CINAHL displays refining options in the "Advanced Search" section of the database. Click the filters you would like to apply before hitting the Search button.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search Filter

Google Scholar displays a limited set of search filters in the left sidebar after running a search.

PsycINFO

PsycINFO Search Filter

PsycINFO displays refining options in the left sidebar after running a search. All possible filters are displayed in this view.

Scopus

Scopus Search Limits

Scopus displays refining options in the left sidebar after running a search. All possible filters are displayed in this view.