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Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen Last Updated: Mar 11, 2016 Views: 1985
A database, such as Academic Search Complete, searches titles of articles, titles of publications, and abstracts of articles to find results which contain all of your keywords. Sometimes this results in a list of articles which mention your keywords but are not about your topic.
There are many ways of making your database searches more precise (so you get better results).
- Using Boolean Operators
- Using limiters for things like date, publication type, language, scholarliness (which is explained in this answer)
- Using "official" subject terms rather than natural language
Check out the video below for a demonstration!
For example, I did a search in Academic Search Complete using the keyword adult attention deficit disorder to find articles about adults with attention deficit disorder. My results showed 1235 full-text articles. The results are sorted by relevance.
To narrow my results, I'll use the limiters within the database itself. I can limit by things like date, publication type, language, country, company, or other limiters. Using the limters call Subject or Subject: Thesaurus Term will help you find articles filed under your actual topic heading.
- In most databases from EBSCO, the limiters are in boxes on the left.
- In most databases by ProQuest, the limiters are on the right side of the screen.
Using Subject or Subject: Thesaurus Term will sort through the results to find articles about my topic, not articles which merely use the words I typed into the search. When I select Attention-deficit disorder in adults from within the Subject: Thesaurus Term limiters, my 1235 results which use my keywords are now narrowed to 236 articles about my actual search topic.