On this guide you will find several advanced search techniques. Nearly all of these techniques will work in our catalog as well as other databases. Examples have been provided using the syntax for ProQuest; however, each database uses its own syntax. Refer to a database's Help Guide for more information.
Every database has subject headings in some form. Some subject headings have narrower terms and/or broader terms.
Exploding a term takes all of the broader terms that accompany your term and add them to your search. It can be a great way to find more relevant subject terms and, therefore, relevant results.
"Pearl growing" is finding one article or source you really like, and looking at their cited sources. If you find these cited sources, look at their cited sources. Here's an example:
Before requesting an article via ILL, try to do a Google Scholar search. If you can't find the article, then try a general Google search either for the article title or the author. Authors will sometimes post their published articles on their personal website for educational purposes only.
Set-based searching is a great way for you to break searching down into more manageable "chunks."
When searching, the computer "remembers" what you searched for previously. Every search is considered a search after pressing the search button, no matter how many words you type or how many fields you use.
Think of a search field as a single drawer in a filing cabinet to look in. Each "cabinet" is labeled with what kind of information it contains, such as author, title, or journal. If you tell the computer to look in the author cabinet, but tell it the year of publication, you won't get any results. Make sure you're searching in the right cabinet!
The thesaurus is a list of subject headings, also known as a subject index. Why would you use this? So you know what the database calls the idea you're thinking of!
For instance, in PsycINFO, the thesaurus term for fairy tales is folklore.
By perusing relevant subject headings, you find out how other people are talking about your topic. You can use these words in a keyword search, or you can combine multiple subject headings to get a very precise set of results.
Locate the thesaurus or subject index by using the steps listed in the box "Exploding subject headings."
Proximity searching is something between finding an exact phrase and finding words anywhere. You search for word A within a certain number of words of word B.
There are two kinds of proximity searching: ordered and unordered proximity. Ordered proximity searches for words in order; unordered proximity searches for any result with both words within the parameter you specified. Your parameter can be any number, but we recommend within 5 or so words at most.
Each EBSCO and ProQuest both refer to proximity searching and unordered proximity searching differently. See below for examples.