While each journal database has its own unique searching capabilities, there are certain searching features that are common to all of them. These features are outlined below.
For additional guidance on how to search a specific database, you can consult that database's "Help" or "Tips" page(s).
In all of the databases discussed in this guide, you can either run a basic search or an advanced search. The default search option is typically the basic or quick search where you are given one box to enter all of your terms. The advanced search option enables you to break up your search into different components, thereby giving you greater flexibility in searching and allowing for more precise results.
One search option that is typically more likely to be available in the advanced searching mode is the option of limiting your search (or components of your search) to particular sections or fields of the documents. For example, if you are looking for a specific article and know the title, you can limit your search to the words in each document title as opposed to searching the entire text of each document. If you are searching by topic, it is often useful to search by keyword and to search only the major fields of each document, including the article citation, subject headings, and possibly, the abstract.
You can use quotation marks around words that you want to search as an exact phrase (e.g., "public schools"). You can also use connectors to link your terms in a logical way:
To allow for different versions of a particular word, you can truncate the word with a special symbol. In all of the databases discussed in this guide, the main truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). For example, the search integrat* will pull up documents containing either integrate, integration, or integrating.