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Research Database Tips

Page history last edited by ted.coopman@... 11 years, 11 months ago

 Here are some tips from Spring 2008 Comm 181 students for using research databases available at SJSU

* databases are restricted to those with institutional access codes.

To quickly find appropriate databases, go to the Academic Gateway page, search under Research Topics and select either Communication Studies or Television, Radio, Film, and Theatre.

Instructor Tips for EBSCO search interfaces:

•Select subject search option: this introduces human coding to improve and narrow results

•Arrange findings by relevance: in an all text search, arrange findings by relevance to improve results

•Select gold "get text" button to find article location - if it is not available in a database, select Iliad/Inter library loan to get a pdf emialed to you - usually with 48 hours.

•Email yourself citations and select the correct sytle format (eg. APA) and the reference wil be sent in the correct format.



Click on "Search"

Click on "Help" for some simple basic help info regarding searches


Better yet Click on "tips" at the top tool bar (red)

Then click on Basic Search Form: In-depth Instructions


Favorite items we found interesting:


ty:   type of item

ti: title of article

au: author of article or author of reviewed works

aa: author of article only

ra: author of reviewed works only

la: language

ty:fla  type of item full length article


Using Booleans

[Also see the Search Engines page for more Boolean tips]

cat AND dog, cat && dog, +cat +dog, (cat dog)  all will give you items with both cat and dog

(finch OR sparrow) AND exotic will give you articles all containing exotic plus either finch or sparrow

using wild cards


te?ts will find tents, tests, texts, etc

bird* will find bird, birds, birding, birdmen, etc


In other words will find "bird" along with other ending that could come after that order of characters


bus& will find bus and busses

knife& will find knife and knives


In other words using & will find that word and other forms of that word even though the spelling changes


ti:dostoyevsky~ will find titles containing all other forms of possible spelling of that word like  -  dostoyevsky, dostoesky, dostoievski, dpstoevskii, etc

"debt forgiveness"~10 will find items that contain both words within 10 words of each other..... any items that have those words more than 10 words away from each other will be left out. You can change the number that follows the "~" depending on how close those words need to be to each other in order to be relevant to your needs.


Academic Search Premiere


-Setting Limiters:

      *Full Text Articles

      *Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Only

      *Specific Journal Titles



-Narrow Results:

      *You can narrow your results by category or topic.

      *Allows you to narrow by Subject Terms

      *Industry Codes: narrows by specific area of interest.


-Saving, E-mailing Results:

      *You can e-mail yourself or others a copy of the HTML, PDF, and/or Citation for any article that has the available data.

      *You can save your results in a folder for later use.




Communication and Mass Media Complete


 ten tips:

  1. Break up the words
  2. Narrow by field
  3. Use the conjuctions to leave in/out whats needed
  4. Scholarly, check the box
  5. Full text
  6. Include more to narrow search
  7. Keywords
  8. Use tutorial, help section
  9. Ask a librarian, chat with a librarian
  10. Search synonymous words
  11. Use the thesaurus: for more subject terms


Psyc Info


Research Tips:

   1. When searching in this database, be aware that anything found will be from a psychological discipline and related disciplines.

   2. Clicking the “Blue Question” mark next to the name of the database will access specific help information for this database.

   3. Standard Boolean Logic applies to search words in this database.

   4. If you are stuck, or need help click on EBSCO’s Support Site, and click on advanced search.  You can type in questions specific to the database you are using.

   5. EBSCO Search uses proximities to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases.

         1. Near Operator (N) - N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

         2. Within Operator (W) - In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

   6. You can search in the database by a classification code which relates to a specific area of psychology.  This list can be found under classification codes in the EBSCO         Support site for PsycInfo.  (Click on the blue question mark next to the database name.)

         1. Example, CC 3260 = Eating Disorders




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