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Research Essentials: Database Searching Tips

Search Tips

This page guides your through tips and shortcuts for more effective database searching. Master some or all of these tips, and you will find relevant articles quickly. 

When searching it is important to remember that a database is a huge collection of records, such as Google, JSTOR, or WorldCat. A record (your results) is made up of fields that describe the item you are looking for, such as a book or article. Fields are the individual elements in the record, such as the title, author, publisher, or subject.

Search Techniques for Quicker Better Results

Field Searching

Since all database records are divided into fields, you can search for terms appearing in a particular field, such as Author or Abstract. This can really help when you're looking for a specific item. Using the subject field in a book or article record will quickly link you to a list of other material sharing that same subject.

You can also use filter or set limits on results, such as peer-reviewed only, specific date ranges, full-text only. 

Phrase Search

Phrase search if your keywords make a phrase by using quotation marks, such as

"gun control"  "religious freedom"  "human trafficking"

Research Support

Need help finding articles or using the databases? The Libraries offer a wide range of research support.