What are inclusion and exclusion criteria?

Answered By: HSL Ask Us Librarians
Last Updated: May 13, 2022     Views: view

In order to reduce bias, eligibility criteria (also known as inclusion and exclusion criteria) refer to what you plan to include and exclude from your systematic review. These criteria are decided after the research question is developed but before searches are completed. Below are examples of criteria that may be used to determine inclusion or exclusion.

Type of criteria Example
Type of participants May be limited to specific groups of people, age ranges, or other characteristics of participants
Study design May include certain study designs and exclude others based on the design that is best to answer the research question
Intervention of interest Includes interventions of interest and excludes any others
Outcomes of interest Includes outcomes of interest and may exclude studies reporting outcomes not of interest
Setting May be limited to a specific setting like inpatient, ambulatory, classroom, etc.
Type of publication Reviews, editorials, commentaries, and letters are often excluded
Language of publication Include studies in any language or limit to those that can be read by the review team
Date of publication Date ranges may be applied when updating a systematic review or when specific to an intervention or therapy

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