VU Systematic Literature Reviews: Search filters and hedges

Search filters and hedges overview

The terms "search filters" and "hedges" are used interchangeably throughout this guide, however there is a slight difference between the two: search filters refer to methods that refine static concepts, such as study design, whereas hedges deal with subject materials. Depending on the research topic, you may be able to save time in constructing your search by using specific search filters (also called canned searches, clinical queries, or optimal search strategies). Search filters usually include a series of pre-elaborated keywords/phrases plus subject headings for a given concept, idea, or study design to find literature within a particular database, e.g., for the MEDLINE database on a given concept.

Watch this video from Yale University for an introduction to pre-made search strategies and suggestions of where to find validated hedges.

Key points from the video


 Make an appointment with a librarian for help identifying relevant filters for your search. 

Sources of filters/hedges

Below are links to some commonly used filters you may find useful.