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Database Search Skills: Advanced Search Limiters

Introduction to advanced search limiters

Most databases have further ways to limit or refine your search results. You can often find these in the Advanced search section or page. In some databases they appear on the search results page, too. Some examples of further ways to limit your results might be: 

  • language
  • publication or source type
  • subject 

Common advanced database limiters

ProQuest databases offer ways to limit results by source and document type.

In the area under the search boxes, locate the Source type box to select different types of sources such as Books, Conference Papers & Proceedings, and Newspapers, etc.

In the Document type box, you can select documents types such as Annual Report, Case Study, Editorial, Illustration, etc.


Methodology limiters

Some databases include a limiter for research methodology.

PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES offer a Methodology limiter box in the area under the search boxes. Click on the method you need to select it.


Locate the Clinical Queries limiter box in MEDLINE and CINAHL in the area under the search boxes. Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on your choices to select multiple options.


Even if there is no specific limiter for methodology, you can still include a methodology term in your search to limit your results to a specific methodology. Simply add it as a keyword.

Some databases also include methodology terms as subject terms. See our guide for more information: 

Database specific limiters

Not all databases have the same limiters. Each subject area offers unique ways to search, based on the needs of researchers in that subject. Explore the search pages of the database you're using to find the limiters available. Here are some examples of different subject database limiters.

Business & Management

Company Name

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code


Population group 

Age group 


Educational level

Health Sciences

  • Clinical query
  • Population group 
  • Animal trial/study

Information Systems & Technology

Conference (IT research is often published in conference proceedings, as they come out more rapidly than peer-reviewed journals)