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Library: How to Search

 How to Search on Databases


Basic Search on EBSCO Interfaces

Using Limiters to Refine Your Search

Remember to set the following limits before you start searching

  • Peer reviewed
  • Full text (For access immediately, leave unchecked to search all on that subject. If we don’t have immediate access; you will have to submit an interlibrary loan request)
  • Set year limits to no more than 5 years ago (i.e. 2013-2018) for science and health based articles

Using Wildcards and Truncation

Wildcards change letters (?) or add to them (#)

Example: b?t could come up with the following bat, bit, bet, etc.

neighbo#r would pull up neighbor and neighbour (this is most often an occurrence with English vs. American words)

Truncation expands your search results by adding * to the end of a root word

Example: nurs* would pull up nurse, nurses, nursing, etc.

 How to Search on Credo


   Basic Searching in Credo

 Boolean Searching


What is Boolean searching?
In simple terms Boolean searching gives you the ability to dig deeper and more specifically when researching.  You can use this technique in all searches, whether it be on a database or on Google.
There are three main operators that you can use in your search: AND, OR, NOT.
  • When using AND it will search for both terms you put into search box.  For example: cancer AND lung.  This means it will only bring up results that have both terms in it.  This creates a narrower search.
  • When using OR it will search for either term.  For example: cancer OR disease.  This will bring up results that contains at least one of the terms, cancer or disease, creating a wider search.
  • When using NOT it will exclude the term after not.  For example: cancer NOT disease.  This will bring up results that only have the term cancer in them, results that have the term disease in them will not show up.   

Secondly, you can use parentheses () to help narrow or broaden your search results.
Example: (lung OR thyroid) NOT cancer
This will search for lung and thyroid but not include any results that have cancer in them. 
Finally, you can use quotations "" when you want that specific combination of terms.
When searching databases, you will often find that when you search for two terms or more that some results will only contain one or two of the terms.  This can be frustrating.  If you want articles that include both terms or all the terms, you can do two things. Either put your terms in quotations, or make them into an AND statement.
For example: "lung cancer deaths" or lung AND cancer AND deaths
For more information on Boolean searching check out EBSCO's guide.

 How to Pick a Topic


Topic map visualization tool by Gale, search your topic term and click on a further expander. Journal articles populate on the right hand side.
Browse topics with Credo and get background information on major subject areas. Also be sure to check out Credo's Mind Map, a visualization tool that lets you explore your topic terms. 

 Searching on Britannica Academic


 Learn to Search on Britannia Academic 

 How to Search on Google Scholar


Library links

Google Scholar has given you the ability to view Maria College owned articles when searching. This service is already setup when you are on campus using our computers. At home or using your laptop on campus you will have to follow the steps listed below:

  1. Click on the menu in the top left hand corner (three horizontal lines)
  2. Go to settings
  3. Go to library links
  4. In the search box type in "Maria College Library"
  5. Check the box next to the result of our library
  6. Then click on the save button
  7. To go back to the Google Scholar search bar, click on the Google Scholar icon in the top left corner next to the menu icon

When searching on Google Scholar, any results that have "Maria College Library" to the right of the article title means that you will have immediate access it.

Is my article peer reviewed?

Unfortunately Google Scholar doesn't let you filter peer reviewed articles. So to help figure out whether the article you found is peer reviewed, we recommend going to the journals website. From there it is typically mentioned in the "About" section. If at any time you are unsure whether an article is peer reviewed, you can always ask a librarian.

Tips for Google Scholar Searching

 Primary vs. Secondary Sources


Primary sources are documents/evidence that were created at the time period you are researching, or memories of those who participated during that time period.
Secondary sources are documents that analyze or interpret primary sources from that period. An example of this is when a researcher examines primary sources and discusses them in a paper, book or in a documentary.  In general, if the researcher has gathered information to recreate the history of the time period, it is a secondary source.
Some good sites to start your search for primary sources are the Library of Congress and National Archives.