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ENG 102: Prof. Ballerini's Class: Tips for Searching Databases

Tips for Finding Articles

You should always use keywords to search the databases, not sentences. Databases do not understand sentences, and therefore, will not give you the best search results.The example below is from Humanities Source.

 For example, if you enter-  How is gender portrayed in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" into the database searchbox:



The database will not understand which of the words you entered is a "keyword" and it will choose the keywords by itself.

-You will not get the best results if you search this way. One of the first articles "chosen" by the database for this search is:


-This article clearly has no information about Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? It was chosen by the database simply because it has the word "you" in the title.

Advanced Searches

When searching the databases, you should use the advanced search option, if it's available.


 An advanced search gives users more search boxes and search options. The example below is from Humanities Source.





Look for full-text limiters when you begin your search- if available.

If you find an article and the full-text is not available, click on the "Full-text options" to see if it may be in another database.

If not, use the Interlibrary Loan (in the additional help tab above) to request the item from another library.