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Tutorials on Searching Library Databases: Home

Tutorials Available

This is a 2-part tutorial introduction to the basic principles of library database searching. It was constructed with CTW classes in mind and uses the OmniFile database on the EBSCO platform.

 

 

This is a tutorial introducing the Proquest Social Science Premium Database. The database Ethnic Newswatch uses the same interface and would be searched using these same strategies.

 

 

This is a tutorial introduction to searching PsycInfo on the EBSCO platform. 

More!

You might also be interested in the "Tip Sheets" below!

Tips for Searching an EBSCOHost Database

TIP ONE: Think very carefully about the words you will use to search. Stick to the concrete and unambiguous. Use single words rather than phrases, except when necessary. Geography, for example, can be a sticky wicket! You may be tempted to use U.S. or America in a search. Don't! If you must, use the phrase "United States" (in quotes, like that).

TIP TWO: Use the " " around phrases and the asterisk (stereotyp*, college*) to truncate. In this database, these tools are critical.

TIP THREE: The Boolean OR is very important here. For example, you may be thinking an idea like "the western states", but you'd type something like this in one of the search boxes (the boxes expand):

california or nevada or arizona or "new mexico" or oregon or washington and so on

TIP FOUR: Don't forget to specify the years of publication you are interested in. Some of these databases have some pretty old things in them.

TIP FIVE: Once you've done your search, click on the article titles (in blue) and scan the abstracts to see if you like them. If you do, and the fulltext is there, use the option to send it to yourself. You'll get the PDF as an attachment and you can have the database send you a formatted citation using the pulldown menu:

TIP SIX: Use the Find It @ SCU to get to the fulltext when it is not right there in the database you are searching. It could be just a click away.

NOTE :  If you need to POST a CITATION and a LINK (not what is in the address bar at the top!) to a specific article, you can get the citation by clicking on the tiny   icon in the column to the right. You can also get a working link by clicking on PERMALINK in that same column to the right.

BONUS TIP :  As you review your search results, put them in a folder by clicking on the folder icon either below or in the right column, depending on how you are viewing your results. Then when you are finished reviewing, click on the folder icon in the bar at the very top of the screen. You can then send them to yourself as a group and even specify which format you want the citations to appear in. You'll also get a permanent link back to the individual records in the database.

Tips for Searching a Proquest Database

TIP ONE: You ARE an ADVANCED searcher. So, if you open in the Basic search mode, click the Advanced Search hotlink straightaway!

TIP TWO: Use those search boxes and the Boolean AND to describe your topic. Stick to really important, unambiguous keywords. Separate synonyms/alternatives by using the OR or actually typing an OR. Put " " around phrases. Use the asterisk* to pick up variations on words ... even for a singular/plural. See the example below of a search on binge drinking in sororities and fraternities:

Then click 

 

TIP THREE: There's a lot in here that is not scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles. To limit your results to just the academic journal literature, click Scholarly Journals in the column to the left of the search results.

 

TIP FOUR: Use the date limit options in the column to the left of the search results. Some of these databases have very old materials in them.

 

TIP FIVE: If your numbers are HUGE, consider using the field searching option for the most basic subject elements in your search. In the example here I might do this:

TIP SIX: Click on the article titles that sound interesting and read the abstracts. Then, if you like it, capture the formatted APA or MLA or .... citation by clicking the button to the right of the title of the article.

 

TIP SEVEN: Send yourself the fulltext and a PERMANENT LINK to items you like by using the EMAIL option. You can block-copy a stable document URL in the Abstract/Details view. Alternatively, you can mark individual records to put them in a Folder (in the bar at the top of the screen) to email as a group.