Retrieving values-related literature from electronic databases is difficult in part because of the diversity of words carrying evaluative meaning (needs, wishes, preferences, etc) but also because electronic databases are not structured to support searching for such literature.

Searching in Medline on ‘values’ for example yields millions of ‘hits’ but mostly about numerical values (eg ‘the value of the haemoglobin level …’)

Chapter 6 of Essential Values-based Practice gives details of a range of strategies that can be adopted for different purposes ranging from clinical through training to research.

Fulford, K.W.M., Peile, E., and Carroll, H (2012) ‘A Smoking Enigma: getting and not getting the knowledge.’ Ch 6, pps 65 – 82 in Fulford, K.W.M., Peile, E., and Carroll, H Essentials of Values-based Practice: clinical stories linking science with people. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

The research student Mila Petrova has explored many of the challenges to retrieving values-related literature. Her manual, the VaST (Values Search Tools), which is available to download from this website, gives full details. Manual Searching Electronic Databases

Petrova, M., (2012) VaST Values Search Tools: a manual for searching electronic databases for health-related values.

The VaST manual includes a brief search filter (of just 22 key terms) published originally in the Journal of the American Informatics Association and reproduced below (see More about Strategies for Retrieving Values-related Literature)

Petrova, M., Sutcliffe, P., Fulford, K. W. M., and Dale, J. (2011) Search terms and a validated brief search filter to retrieve publications on health-related values in Medline: a word frequency analysis study. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association,

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