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  • Database Search Tips: Advanced Searching

    Use this guide to learn about some techniques that will help make your searches more effective.

    What is advanced searching?

    Advanced searching helps filter your search results specifically to what you need. There are lots of ways to filter search results. Check out some of the techniques and try it yourself!

    Some filtering techniques to try

    1. Subject terms
    2. Source type
    3. Database
    4. Other filters

    Using Subject Terms

    Subject terms work just like hashtags do on social media. Librarians use subject terms to tag journal articles, books, eBooks, audiovisual materials, periodicals, and various other physical and electronic resources to specific topics. Using these "hashtags" help you filter your search results to find exactly what you need! 

    TIP: You can search by multiple subject terms.

    How do I filter my search by subject terms?
    Step 1: Log into a database Access the database of your choice through and selecting "A-Z Databases." If you chose an EBSCO database, log in with your myLWC email and password.
    Step 2: Perform you search Enter your keywords in the search bar.
    Step 3: Locate the search filters Search filters are often found on the far-left side of the web browser. There will be multiple categories to filter by.
    Step 4: Select subject(s) Explore the different subject terms applied throughout your search results. Yes, you can apply more than one. If you chose an EBSCO database, there may be up to three categories of subject filters.

    You can also search by subject terms as well, just like you can search by hashtags on social media!

    How to search by Subject Terms in EBSCO
    1. Start on the main EBSCOhost page
    2. At the top of the webpage, there is a horizontal menu in blue. Hover your cursor over the second option [Subjects]. Select one of the options. If you're following this example, select the first option [Academic Search Complete -- Subject Terms].
    3. In the second search bar on the page, type in a topic you are interested in exploring. *Change the search option to Term Contains.* For example, search head injuries.
    4. HEAD injuries appears at the top. Click the checkbox next to HEAD injuries. This selects the topic.
    5. Click "Add". This will preformat this topic in your search bar at the top of the page.
    6. Next, search college athletes.
    7. COLLEGE athletes appears at the top. Click the checkbox next to COLLEGE athletes to select the topic.
    8. Next, before you click "Add"change the option to AND. Using this Boolean operator, we will search for resources labeled with both subject terms.
    9. Now, click the green "Search" at the top of the page.
    10. You should have less than 100 results of resources containing both of these topics.
    11. From here, you can adjust your search EITHER using the filters on the page OR changing the subject term combinations.

    Other Filters

    Depending on which database you use, there are more search filters you can apply to find exactly what you need. Based on EBSCO databases, you may find filters like these:

    • Publication (type of resource)
    • Publisher
    • Company
    • Language (if you need resources in either another language or all resources in English)
    • Age (if the resource specifies an age range)
    • Gender (if the resource specifies a gender)
    • Geography (location either of content or publishing)
    • Industry, or NAICS
    • Classification
    • Methodology
    • Tests & Measures
    • Population
    • Database

    Print out this help sheet!

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