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Database Searching: Before You Search

This guide describes a variety of search techniques that can be used to help improve your database search results. The techniques can be used in any database, but this guide is based on searches performed within Academic Search Complete.

What is a Database?

What is a database?

Databases are electronic catalogs that contain published information in the form of citations, abstracts, or the full text of documents. These documents can be from magazines, newspapers, scholarly, academic journals, ebooks, book chapters or essays. Some databases cover multiple subjects, while others are specific to a certain field.

Databases are different from Google, so knowing about various search techniques will improve the results retrieved from a database search.

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Getting Started

 Getting started...

Before beginning your search, identify key words or concepts relevant to your topic. A thesarus might come in handy in order to find terms with similar meaning that can help locate additional articles. Ensure you spelling is correct. As you perform searches, you might take note of subject terms and/or keywords in useful articles. These can be used in subsequent searches to locate additional items. You might wish to keep this guide open in another tab or window to use as a reference, but don't hesitate to the help available within the database. Here is where you can find it in the Academic Search Complete database (as well as other EBSCOhost databases):

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