Using search filters to refine results

Using search filters

Search filters restrict your results so that you can find more relevant sources for your research topic or assignment question. 

So, once you have done a search and you have some results, the next step is to filter them (especially if you have a high number of results). 

The option to apply filters will often – as in the case with the Library catalogue – appear on the left side of the page.

Using filters in the Library catalogue

Filter options

In the Library catalogue, there are filters you can apply to limit your results. Under “Refine my results”, you will find the following filter options:

  • Sort by 
  • Show only
  • Content type
  • Publication date
  • Subject 
  • Language
  • Library
  • Location
  • Source 
  • Author/creator
  • Journal title
  • New records

If you are searching for scholarly information, you must select “Peer-reviewed journals” under “Show only”. This will ensure that your results only include publications from journals that have a strict review process consisting of critical appraisal by experts in relevant fields.  

More detailed filters

The filters below allow you to limit results to more specific information that may be closer to your search goal. 

Filter heading
Subject This filter will show you options for relevant subjects associated with your search. Select 2–3 of the most applicable subjects to focus your search.

This filter will show you where some of your results are coming from. To use this filter most effectively, a working knowledge of some trustworthy databases is required. 

To familiarise yourself with the most popular databases in your discipline, go to:

  1. Library homepage
  2. Browse
  3. Resources by subject – pick your relevant faculty

Check out the Using databases page for more information on databases.

If you have done some background research and therefore have particular authors in mind, you can use this filter to only include results by these authors.
Journal title

If you have background knowledge of some of the top journals in your discipline, you can use this filter to only include results published in specific journals.

You can find top journals for your discipline by following the same pathway outlined in “Source” above.

Filters in other databases

Other databases have filters too, though these can be different depending ontheir coverage. Examples include:

  • Medline has filters for study types like randomised controlled trials, as this information is significant for medicine and health disciplines.
  • Scopus has filters for publication stage, funding sponsor and open access, as it is a multidisciplinary database with wide coverage of peer-reviewed journals and articles. 

When applying filters beyond Library Search, it is always a good idea to check the coverage each database and check which filters are available for your search.

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