Show Me, an Electronic Tutorial on Searching Subscription Databases

Text version

Module 4: How do I search? (incomplete)

Most databases covering journal articles have some search elements in common:

1. keyword

2. thesaurus

3. boolean

4. limit

5. search history

6. results

1. Using normal sentences will not work. A perfectly fine sentence in conversation... ...may make no sense to a database.

You can search in basic or advanced modes.

2. You can use a list of precise vocabulary terms - thesaurus or index terms - that help clarify ambiguous concepts. You can usually find broader terms and related terms.

3. You can combine strategies using boolean logic. "And" finds only records that have both your first and second keywords. "Or" finds records that have either one or both of your keywords. "Not" finds records that have your first keyword but not your second.

4. You can limit by some combination of the following: publication year, language, and document type.

5. You can view your search history.

6. Results are presented both as "hits" and abbreviated citations that can be expanded for more detailed information.

There is no one "right" way to begin searching. Using simple keyword searching has advantages in some cases, while thesaurus searches are better in others.

Identifying which search options you have is a first step to using subscription databases effectively. Click on the search method to the left - or click next , above - for a full explanation of each element.

Temporary end of module 4: How do I search?

Link to module: Connecting