We develop real world solutions including search filters and online search tools.
Finding the existing evidence base is a prerequisite to implementing evidence, however searching for this evidence is difficult. Our “search filters” are evidence-based literature search strategies, developed using an explicit methodology and tested using a gold standard test comparison study design and detailed in published papers.
Each provides a standardised, systematic subject-based search with a known level of performance. Embedding the search filter into a URL for a database such as PubMed provides the searcher with access to a high performing literature search simply by clicking a link. This capacity for ready implementation is a powerful feature of this research programme.
Flinders Filters has evolved from research within CareSearch. Flinders Filters and CareSearch are developing an ever-increasing collection of subject-based search filters of national interest and international significance.
Use links in the table below to try a search filter or find out about our current and past research projects.
|Filters and searching projects||Partner(s)||Links|
Central Coast Local Health District
|Bereavement, Grief and Loss||CareSearch|
|Contraception||Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia||Contraception searches|
|FHMRI Eye and Vision
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health||Lowitja Institute||LItSearch
|Primary Health Care||FHMRI Primary Health Care Research and Information Service||
Primary Health Care Searches
|Residential Aged Care||CareSearch||
Residential Aged Care Searches
|Stroke Search Filter||College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
A search filter is a defined search strategy designed to find certain types of articles in a particular database. The search filters developed at Flinders Filters and CareSearch palliative care knowledge network are objectively derived and validated and have a known effectiveness of recall and precision.
A search filter provides quick and easy access to the research evidence base. A range of subjects of national interest and international significance have been completed or are in progress
Broadly, search filters are one of two types: methodological or subject-based.
Method search filters target certain published studies which use certain designs, for example, randomised controlled trials or systematic reviews. The most common examples of these can be seen on PubMed Clinical Queries, where the options you choose will trigger PubMed to use search filters in the search it runs. Other examples can be found at the InterTasc Search Filter Resource website.
Subject search filters are far less common and target a particular subject field. The Palliative Care Search Filter was developed to help people find relevant palliative care articles in PubMed. CareSearch has also created the Heart Failure Search Filter, the Lung Cancer Search Filter, the palliAGED searches, the Dementia Search Filter and the Bereavement Search Filter, for Ovid Medline and for PubMed.
Neither search filters nor individual searches are perfect, but search filters are pre-tested for their performance, and usually involve experts and a rigorous methodology to ensure performance is maximised. They represent a quick and efficient way to search for certain information.
This site provides access to and information about the subject-based search filters developed by Flinders Filters and CareSearch staff.
The development of search filters by Flinders Filters and CareSearch follows an established methodology designed to be objective and to minimise bias, set out in the published papers associated with each filter.
The following broad elements are commonly included:
Establishment of an expert advisory group to provide clinical and/or research expertise in such areas as: choice of a gold standard set of representative references; determination of the scope and function of the search filter; advice on key terminology and key articles; advice on publication and dissemination of the search filter.
Creation of a gold standard set (GSS) of references (contained in the database for which the filter is designed) that represent the breadth of information required to be retrieved by the filter. Each reference is considered relevant to the search topic.
Division of the GSS into 3 randomised subsets: Term Identification, Filter Development and Filter Validation. Importantly, the terms are derived from one subset, and development and testing performed in different subsets.
Frequency analysis of terms in the references to identify candidate search terms (both natural language text words and controlled index terms for the specific database).
Iterative testing of candidate terms, singly and in combination, to determine effectiveness of recalling citations in the subsets and entire GSS, and to develop a draft strategy of the best performing combination of terms. The recall performance in the filter validation set gives a sensitivity rating for the search filter.
A post hoc relevance test performed on a set of references (retrieved from the open database) by pairs of reviewers, who are external to the project team and have expertise in the subject of the search filter. This gives a precision rating for the search filter.
Where the search filter has been developed in the Medline database, we create a translation to a version for the PubMed database. This consists of a component that is equivalent to the Medline search, retrieving items from the indexed section of PubMed, together with a component that is created to search the non-indexed subset of PubMed references. This methodology is outlined in the paper by Damarell, Tieman and Sladek. Creating a PubMed version of the search filter allows us to embed the search filter into a URL to provide the searcher with access to a highly performing literature search simply by clicking a link.
This list contains journal articles published from research undertaken by CareSearch and Flinders Filters.
Hayman, S. (2015), Knowing how good our searches are: An approach derived from search filter development methodology. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(4): 7-23.
Hayman, S. & Tieman, J. (2015), Discovering the dementia evidence base: Tools to support knowledge to action in dementia care (innovative practice). Dementia. May 28. pii: 1471301215587819. [Epub ahead of print]
Damarell, R. A. and Tieman, J. J. (2015), Searching PubMed for a broad subject area: how effective are palliative care clinicians in finding the evidence in their field?. Health Information & Libraries Journal. doi: 10.1111/hir.12120
Tieman J, Hayman S, Hall C. Find me the evidence: Connecting the practitioner with the evidence on bereavement care, Death Studies. 2015 Jan 15. [Epub ahead of print]
Johnson, C., Rushton, S., Tieman, J., Currow, D. and Aranda, S. (2014), Reclaiming the midnight hours: up-to-date evidence in just one click. European Journal of Cancer Care, 23: 760–761. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12265
Brown L, Carne A, Bywood P, McIntyre E, Damarell R, Lawrence M, Tieman J. Facilitating access to evidence: Primary Health Care Search Filter, Health Information & Libraries Journal. 2014;31(4):293-302.
Tieman JJ, Lawrence MA, Damarell RA, Sladek RA, Nikolof A. LIt.search: fast tracking access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literature, Australian Health Review. 2014;38(5):541-545.
Tieman J, Sladek R, McIntyre E. Finally . . . an evidence-based tool to find primary health care evidence , Medical Journal of Australia. 2014;200(4):207-208.
Damarell RA, Tieman JJ, Sladek RM. OvidSP Medline-to-PubMed search filter translation: a methodology for extending search filter range to include PubMed's unique content. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013;13:86.
Sladek RM, Tieman JJ, Tyndall J, Phillips PA. Searching MEDLINE for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literature: questionable sensitivity. Health Info Libr J. Jun 2013;30(2):138-148.
Tieman JJ. Filters and hubs: shortening the distance to palliative care evidence. Australian journal of primary health. 2012;18(4):268-273.
Damarell RA, Tieman J, Sladek RM, Davidson PM. Development of a heart failure filter for Medline: An objective approach using evidence-based clinical practice guidelines as an alternative to hand searching. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2011;11.
Sladek RM, Tieman J, Currow DC. Searchers be aware: limiting PubMed searches to 'humans' loses more than you think. Intern Med J. Jan 2010;40(1):88-89.
Tieman JJ, Abernethy A, Currow DC. Not published, not indexed: Issues in generating and finding hospice and palliative care literature. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2010;13(6):669-675.
Tieman JJ, Sladek RM, Currow DC. Multiple sources: Mapping the literature of palliative care. Palliative Medicine. 2009;23(5):425-431.
Sladek RM, Tieman J. Applying evidence in the real world: a case study in library and information practice. Health Info Libr J. Dec 2008;25(4):295-301.
Tieman J, Sladek R, Currow D. Changes in the quantity and level of evidence of palliative and hospice care literature: The last century. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008;26(35):5679-5683.
Sladek R, Tieman J, Currow D. Improving search filter development: a study of palliative care literature. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 2007;7(1):18.
Sladek R, Tieman J, Fazekas BS, et al. Development of a subject search filter to find information relevant to palliative care in the general medical literature. Journal of the Medical Library Association. Oct 2006;94(4):394-401.
Tieman JJ, Abernethy AP, Fazekas BS, Currow DC. CareSearch: Finding and evaluating Australia's missing palliative care literature. BMC Palliative Care. 2005;4.
Lewis, S., Damarell, R.A., Tieman, J.J. and Trenerry, C. (2018). Finding the Integrated Care Evidence Base in PubMed and Beyond: A Bibliometric Study of the Challenges . International Journal of Integrated Care, 18(3) pp. 11.
Damarell, R.A., May, N., Hammond, S.E., Sladek, R.M. and Tieman, J.J. (2018). Topic search filters: A systematic scoping review. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 36(1):4-40.
Lewis S, Tieman J, Damarell R, Trenerry C. Integrated Care Search: Adding Value to the Search Filter. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2018;18(s2):382. DOI:
Jennifer Tieman, Sarah Hayman and Chris Hall. (2015, September). Partnership in developing a bereavement knowledge tool—going beyond national borders. 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
Sarah Hayman and Jennifer Tieman. (2015, August). Finding the best available evidence: how can we know?.IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2015. Cape Town, South Africa.
Sarah Hayman and Jennifer Tieman. (2015, August). Palliative Care Knowledge for All Australians: Librarians’ Work within a Multidisciplinary Team Creating a National Health Knowledge Network. IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2015. Cape Town, South Africa.
Sarah Hayman (2015, July). Knowing how good our searches are: An approach derived from search filter development methodology. 8th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference (EBLIP8), Brisbane, Australia.
Raechel Damarell and Jennifer Tieman. (2015). Searching PubMed for a broad subject area: How effective are palliative care clinicians in finding the evidence in their field compared to a search filter?. 8th International Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Conference (EBLIP8), Brisbane, Australia.
Sarah Hayman and Raechel Damarell. (July, 2015). Smart Searching: Search Filters and Expert Topic Searches Workshop. Health Libraries Australia PD Day, Brisbane, Australia.
Sarah Hayman and Jennifer Tieman. (2014, March). Connecting bereavement support practitioners to reliable research evidence. Australian Grief and Bereavement Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
Sarah Hayman and Aileen Collier. (2014, June). Building knowledge to support best practice in dementia care . SA Palliative Care State Conference, Adelaide, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Mikaela Lawrence, Ruth Sladek, Raechel Damarell. (2013, December). Supporting Knowledge Use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. 8th Health Services and Policy Research Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.
Jennifer Tieman, Raechel Damarell, Ruth Sladek, David Currow. (2013, November). Effective Searching: Evidence Based Solutions. COSA (Clinical Oncology Society of Australia) 40th Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Jutta von Dincklage, Shelley Rushton. (2013, November). Managing the Knowledge Base for Oncology. COSA (Clinical Oncology Society of Australia) 40th Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, Australia.
Shelley Rushton, Yasmine Shaheem, Catherine Johnson, Jennifer Tieman. (2013, November). Sustaining the Currency of the Evidence Base of eviQ. COSA (Clinical Oncology Society of Australia) 40th Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, Australia.
Sarah Kirk, Raechel Damarell, Jennifer Tieman, Caroline Harvey. (2013, October). Contraception search filters: connecting the sexual and reproductive health community to the evidence with one click. Australasian Sexual Health Conference, Darwin, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Mikaela Lawrence, Ruth Sladek, Raechel Damarell. (2013, October). Facilitating access to evidence: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Search Filter. 2nd Annual NHMRC Research Translation Faculty Symposium, Sydney, Australia.
Sarah Hayman. (2013, September). Easy, fast and good: CareSearch creates and publishes search filters for clinicians to have ready reliable access to the best palliative care evidence. 12th Australian Palliative Care Conference, Canberra, Australia.
Ruth Sladek. (2013, July). Search skills of health librarians – how do we measure up? What the research investigating expert searching effectiveness relating to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander health tells us. Health Libraries Australia PD Day: The Value Proposition, Adelaide, Australia.
Sarah Hayman. (2013, July). Search filter development and the implications for practice. Health Libraries Australia PD Day: The Value Proposition, Adelaide, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Mikaela Lawrence, Raechel Damarell, Ruth Sladek. (2013, July). ‘Closing the evidence gap' for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Primary Health Care Research Conference, Sydney, Australia.
Sarah Hayman. (2013, March). Searching for evidence: some tools to help. Australian College of Nursing, South Australian Chapter, Adelaide, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Raechel Damarell. (2012, December). What are search filters and how and why do I use them? Palliative Care Nurses Australia Annual Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
Jennifer Tieman, Raechel Damarell, Mikaela Lawrence, Ruth Sladek, Ellen McIntyre. (2012, July). Primary health care search filter: Finding the evidence. Primary Health Care Research Conference, Canberra, Australia.
Sarah Hayman. (2012, July). Expert searching - what are we missing? HLA Professional Development Day 2012, Sydney, Australia.
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