Is there any difference between exclusionary criteria and exclusion criteria?

By exclusionary criteria or exclusion criteria, I want to designate the characteristics that disqualify prospective subjects from inclusion in a study.

  • 1
    Social scientific jargon makes heavy use of the attributive noun. A rule of thumb: if your audience is comprised of social scientists, epidemiologists, etc, use "exclusion criteria"; but if your audience is a general readership, and you do not wish to sound like a policy wonk, use "exclusionary criteria",
    – TimR
    May 11, 2015 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Assuming you want the technical term, use exclusion criteria.

The US Departement of Health and Human Services (as one example out of many) gives a definition as follows:

Exclusion Criteria.

The criteria, or standards, set out before a study or review. Exclusion criteria are used to determine whether a person should participate in a research study or whether an individual study should be excluded in a systematic review. Exclusion criteria may include age, previous treatments, and other medical conditions. Criteria help identify suitable participants.

For example, researchers in a study of high blood pressure medicines might exclude pregnant women because of possible harms. Pregnancy would be an exclusion criterion for that study.

Wrting "exclusionary criteria" would be "some criteria that excludes something" - but not necessarily in the scientific sense of the term "exclusion criteria".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .